We are entering into the final stretch of the year. Permeating the brisk, clear night of our sleigh ride down memory lane are the smells of roasted turkeys, freshly-baked sugar cookies, and logs on the fire. We warm ourselves by snuggling with friends and family, sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows. Though night descends early, joy rises in our hearts. And, for a month, time freezes.
For some of us, shouts of “The cookies are burning!” or “We forgot to buy Aunt Sally a present!” or “Expect Erie to get pummeled with snow tomorrow!” interrupt the alluring hypnosis of the season. As we all very well know, the year’s end culminates in a blizzard of highs and lows. Like a snowball rolling down the hill – getting larger with each somersault – and crashing abruptly against the house, we enter a new year.
The season is joyous, sentimental, hectic, and stressful. As Andy Williams so richly sang, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” But it is all for naught, if we forget Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Paul encourages the Philippians, writing, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (4:4-8).
So, when you carve the turkey, think of Christ. When you dust the ornaments, think of Christ. When you shovel the sidewalk, think of Christ. When you write Christmas cards, think of Christ. When you hang the mistletoe, think of Christ. When you wrap the presents, think of Christ. When the phone doesn’t ring, think of Christ. When you say “Merry Christmas,” think of Christ.
Finally, a word of encouragement, remember the widows, the orphans, the less fortunate. Remember those who do not have Christ.
With much love,
P.S. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”