Saturday, December 26, 2015

When the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is Over and Done

It's the day after Christmas. You would think the "Most Wonderful Time of Year" is over and done.!/format/jpg/quality/85/

After all:
There're no kids jingle belling
And no one is telling you "Be of good cheer"

Done with holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call

No more parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow

Done with scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago.

And on and on it goes. We could almost start to feel sorry for ourselves--if that's the way it was--or worse, if it never happened in the first place. Maybe the hap-happiest season of all didn't hap-happen at all.

Regardless of the funfare and hype of the Christmas holiday, I disagree with the whole premise of the song. I love Christmas. I love Christmas music and lights and the smell of chocolate. But as I listened to this old, old song after leaving church last Sunday I realized the most wonderful time of the year is nothing without hope.

A person could have incredible experiences. The "stars may be aligned" for good fortune and all my dreams could come true, but if there is no hope, no future, no purpose, it's empty. It could happen again and again and it would never be the most wonderful time of the year.

But inject Jesus into the picture. Bring God--the eternal Creator of heaven and earth--into human existence to live the life of man, to offer Himself as the perfect substitute for the sin of the world--and you have an entirely new situation. Be the individual who cries out to Him for mercy and forgiveness, who desires to live life to the fullest and experience eternity on earth through His presence and Spirit. When that is the case, the most wonderful time of the year comes at different times, in different ways. It comes in that moment when I ask forgiveness for impatience and unkindness. It happens when I listen to my children pray, when I receive an unexpected gift or generous answer to prayer.

And when there is hope, the beauty and fun of the little things is magnified. I enjoy "much mistletoeing; And heart that is glowing When loved ones are near----.

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!"

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. (Luke 2:25-33)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:1-11)

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