As the familiar song of this season goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year;
With the kids jingle belling; And everyone telling you be of good cheer; It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” I would have to say many people (and companies) have been waiting for this time of decking the halls, and putting up the Christmas tree, and marketing Christmas to its fullest since September. It is just something special about this time of the calendar year, that no matter one’s faith tradition (or not), there is a contagiousness of cheer and a willingness to go beyond ourselves for the sake of others. There are far more service opportunities, where people are invited to adopt a family, provide gifts for children, create extra care packages for our unhoused neighbors, and offer radical attempts to ensure everyone can experience this season of gladness, if only for this moment. While it never fails, my heart flutters and the tears flow during this season because of the kindness of humanity that is evident (and the wondering why this can’t be our everyday realities).
However, I wonder, what would it be for us to really get excited about the reality of the season and not just its romanticized version? Particularly those of us within The Church, how do we not get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas and miss its truest meaning? The reminds me of the reading from Isaiah 9:6-7, “A child is born to us, a son is given to us, and authority will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be vast authority and endless peace for David’s throne and for his kingdom, establishing and sustaining it with justice and righteousness now and forever…” In understanding the meaning of Isaiah’s reading, to know this was the foretelling for what was to come in this miraculous gift of Jesus being brought into the world. The incarnate of God, evident in human form, would be born to transcend understandings and bring about PEACE into the world. Additionally, the burdens of our human failings, shortfalls, and sin would be the cause of his pain and the reason for his death, but ultimately the power of Christ’s resurrection would be a source of HOPE to pronounce that death does not have the final word.
I would wonder, if we could share in the JOY of knowing that God gave this ultimate gift of LOVE to the world, and through this love we can live a full life and have confident in a life eternal. I would wonder, if this “most wonderful time of the year” could proceed beyond these next few calendar days in December, but become part of our living and being 365 days (and 366 in a leap year).
As we continue to journey through this Season of Advent, I pray we make renewed commitments. As we hear the readings when lighting the advent candles, may we allow the flickering of the light, ignite within us a greater sense of purpose, and a humble submission that we have been gifted love and we are commissioned to show and share that love daily. May when we gather, in person or virtually, for Christmas Eve, and be moved to tears by the collective lights of many, may we the fire burn within as we know our collective light (and the witness of our life’s lights) can dispel and overcome the darkness of inequities and injustices, if we are willing to work together for the common good.
Friends, we have everything we need to make the “most wonderful time of the year” be a yearlong theme…may we commit in this new year of doing something different for Jesus…and making Jesus known for others!
In Awe and Wonder this Advent Season…
Also a note of invitation…will you join me, as we Pray our Way in 2023!
Will you join me in the 28-day prayer experiment, beginning January 1, 2023.
More information will follow in the coming weeks, but this is the resource we will be using: