The neighbors started putting up their Christmas decorations in mid-November, and you know what? I was totally fine with that.
Maybe some other year I might have been muttering under my breath about waiting until the Thanksgiving leftovers are put away before moving on to the next holiday, but this year?
I need a little Christmas, right this very minute.
I need decorations and cookies and wish lists and Santa Clauses. I need greenery and Advent candles and nativity scenes and stockings hung by the fire. I need holiday movies and Salvation Army bell ringers and shoeboxes filled with gifts for children on the other side of the globe. I need white elephant gift exchanges and carols and hot cocoa with peppermint sprinkles.
I don’t need this all at once, mind you, and not all in my own home. But I need it. This year, more than any year in recent history, I just do.
There’s no getting away from the challenging circumstances of life or all the feels that they can bring up at any moment of the day or night. But instead of dwelling on all that, all the time, I want to notice the sights and the sounds of the season. I want to drink in the joy and the wonder. I want to participate in the peace and goodwill.
I don’t know what that will look like. There’s a good chance it won’t look like much, actually. But that’s not the point.
The point is Jesus.
Societal efforts to commercialize and secularize Christmas—as frustrating as they may be—can’t negate the fact that our Savior’s birth was, is and will always be the real reason for the season. If there had been no baby in the manger all those years ago, there would be no Christmas today. It’s that simple.
And this year, especially, what I’m loving the most about the actual Christmas story is that Jesus didn’t rescue us from a far. He became flesh and made His home among us.
He is Immanuel—God with us. He is right here, right now. He has come to save us, guide us, comfort us, convict us, love us, strengthen us.
He’s not just the reason for this season. He is our reason for hope in every season.
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