As I am writing this, it is snowing outside! Normally, I am not a huge fan of snow, but for some reason it does not bother me this time. Maybe because of the Christmas music playing in the coffee shop right now. Maybe because of the Christmas season in general. Maybe because my mother-in-law dislikes snow more than I do and it is fun to pick with her about it.
Either way, as the snow comes down, I am reminded of my 3-year-old niece singing “Let It Snow” while grandma sings “no-no-no!” Many of you know that song, and for some reason my niece LOVES this song. My wife and she sing it together every time they get the chance. They love this time of year. Just recently, my niece said that she, “loves Christmas!”
Right now, she is into the presents, Elferd – the elf at grandma and pop-pop’s house (who today has gotten into an M&M’s bag, as you can see), and singing “Let It Snow” over and over and over again. However, she does understand what Christmas is all about – the birth of Jesus Christ.
All this gets me thinking about how we approach this time of year. We spend way too much money. We stress ourselves out trying to find a gift for everyone, plan special events, work around special schedules, and decorate our houses. There literally are a dozen other illustrations that just happened in the last few days that I could use to describe this phenomenon, but “long story short” we need to pause and ask ourselves, “What is Christmas really about?”
This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent – the week of hope. Many of us (and many churches) highlight the Jews waiting for the coming Messiah. In Jeremiah chapter 33 verses 14 through 16 it says,
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’”
“The days are coming…when God will fulfill the good promise He made.” I think too often we still work that way. We hope for the days when God is going to come. We say, “the days are coming” when maybe something good will happen. We hope for a lot of things: whether we will get our shopping done, our house decorated, not go into debt to make it all happen, will family show up, will certain family not show up, will everyone behave themselves, and a million other things. As Christians, we emphasize the hope the people had for the coming Messiah, but here is the reality: The Messiah HAS COME! We no longer hope for His coming. We no longer hope for salvation. It is time to live into the gift He has brought and provided for us. What we hope for is His return when He will come set things right and gather His people with Him to spend eternity with Him in heaven.
So, this Christmas season, I encourage you to hope for Christ’s blessing and His second coming. We celebrate His first coming, but remember He is here. He has come. He is with us! No more waiting. No more hoping. Life with Jesus is available. And that life starts right now and lasts forever. Anyway, I was just thinking…