It has been nearly a month since I have posted something, which is highly unusual since I am such a sucker for the Christmas season. If you don’t believe me take a moment to check out my past holiday musings here and here. Now, I’m in as much in the Christmas mood as I normally am… heck, maybe even more so… but I have been more contemplative about the nature of the joy, more thoughtful about the glee.
You see, it has been a particularly rough year. It has been a year of hospital rooms. It has been a year of funerals. It has been a year conflict. A year internal and external turmoil. But all this has put me even more on the edge of anticipation for the holiday that we are merely days from celebrating. As I have thought about that anticipation, I wonder, just what am I anticipating? It’s not the gifts… I really don’t have a real want. It may be the family time, but even as I think about it – there’s something else.
Contrary to the popular notion of Christmas, it is not a season all about peace and goodwill toward all people… though the coming of Jesus is to be a joy for all people. No, as I have visited the Christmas story in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, I see God working through a story of violence and hardship. There’s a pregnant teenage girl and working class man traveling a great distance to sleep in a barn… a murderous king that kills every male child under the age of two… and the appearance of angels, which may seem like a cool idea, but think about how frightening that would be… Yet, through it all their lies Emmanuel – God with us… There is hope out of turmoil. Life out of murder.
The hope I find in this season is that God is still in the business of redemption… still in the business of using the ugly and seemingly useless times in our lives and using them for his own glory. Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope you look to the star of Bethlehem and find the cross of Calvary.