There are only three weeks until Christmas Day. The snow is no where to be found and the temperature this morning was 61 degrees. It’s hard to imagine the postcard images of snow covered pine trees and ice skaters skimming the frozen pond. Over the years I have experienced Christmas where the snow was in deep drifts and where there was no snow at all. The thing that made it Christmas was not the weather, but the company I had around me.
Silliness and games with my maternal grandparents on Christmas Eve were common. My cousins gathered with me around Grandma and Grandpa W.’s table on Christmas Day, enjoying turkey and laughter. Each evening ending with a candlelight service at each of my grandparents’ churches. There is something about this season that makes me wistful for the things of the past, movies, stories, laughter, people who are no longer with me.
As my sons start on their personal journeys into adulthood, I find myself wondering what they will remember. Will they recall the times they played in my parents’ backyard all bundled up? Will they remember the time we went to Colorado expecting tons of snow, but instead we were greeted by 60 mile an hour winds on the mountain that lifted my father-in-law right off his feet? Do they remember sledding down the hill across from our farm in Illinois?
What makes this holiday season stand out over all the holidays in a year? In a word, hope. Christmas brings an expectancy. The hope for time together as a family, the hope for the perfect present under the tree. The hope found in the manger that first Christmas morning two millennia ago. It is the Advent period that precedes Christmas. A sense of expectancy, excitement, hope, and anticipation for the arrival of the Savior of the World (Luke 2:11, John 4:42).
As the 25th of December approaches, it is beginning to look a lot like hope, joy, healing, peace, mercy, and grace all coming together in one event– the birth of Jesus.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever. ~Isaiah 9:6-7
This is the promise of Christ written 800 years before His birth. Talk about advent! Isaiah was given a glimpse of the hope, the future, the perfection that would come in Christ’s birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. Now here we are, 2000 years after Christ’s birth and we still anticipate the day we celebrate His birth.
Best Beloved, as the days diminish between today and the 25th, I pray you will prepare your hearts to receive Him once again. No matter whether your Christmas gathering includes extended family, your immediate family, snow, wind, or balmy weather, may you anticipate and celebrate Jesus, Dear Ones.
Merriest of Christmases, to you and yours.