It’s going to be about 65 degrees (Fahrenheit) in Oklahoma this Christmas. This is certainly not the “baby it’s cold outside” weather of the Christmas songs I’ve been overdosing on. Matter of fact, it’s only about 10 degrees difference than my in-laws will experience in Nairobi, Kenya and they’re in summer months!
While I might join Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney and “dream of a white Christmas”, unless I hop on a plane for Canada, I can keep dreaming.
Sometimes it seems like all of life is speaking its desires and ambitions over you and they feel like ideal dreams. I even laughed out loud today thinking about those fancy car Christmas commercials where the car has a big new beautiful bow on the driveway and the spouse is elated! If I was that wife whose husband bought an expensive car causing us to go into debt and without discussing it with me first, I wouldn’t think it was the best thing ever! I’d have to hold up fingers in front of his face to make sure he knew how many fingers were there and wasn’t suffering from a concussion or something.
The reality is we are constantly inundated with advertisements and song tells us the expectations we should have of the Christmas season. Every one is showing some type of perfect family scenario, receiving ideal gifts, and dashing through the snow. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is an upbeat song you can’t help but sing along to, yet many people don’t see this as “the most wonderful time of the year”. The holiday season can amplify pain and grief people are experiencing and many see no possibility of hope.
Around the time that Jesus was born, circumstances were anything but “jolly” and “wonderful” both for Mary and Joseph and the Jewish people. They were crying out for a Savior to deliver them from oppression from the Roman government and bring them hope. God’s voice had been silent for 400 years. The world seemed dark, weighty, and evil abounded. Many thought that God had forgotten them, that He must be done with them, and that they’d have to suffer forever. They felt as if the promises of the Messiah were in vain and that He’d never come.
BUT God sent His only Son and shattered the silence! God released living hope into the world and named Him Emmanuel. There is no way that the first Christmas is anything close to “O Holy Night” or “Silent Night” even though those are beautiful songs that make me cry. Even the best Christmas productions, which also make me cry, can’t capture the true glory and splendor of what took place. A host of heavenly angels proclaimed,” Glory to God in the highest! Peace on Earth! Goodwill to men!” Shepherds, the lowliest of people came to the place of Jesus’ birth showing that the poorest and unlikely of people are welcome in His presence. It was beyond magnificent! Yet Jesus was also born in the most unlikely and less than ideal circumstances. Even the first Christmas came with uncertainty and holding onto God’s word and promises.
“Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel”
Emmanuel means “God is with us”. Once He came as a baby, He was among us and even after His death, resurrection, and ascent, He sent His Holy Spirit to come to us when we accept Him. So rejoice in this news today! You might not have a winter wonderland and might feel weighed down with grief and sorrow of this past year which is unlike many Christmas songs. Yet there are songs of joy, of hope for your redemption, that can take you back to a place of adoration of Jesus like the shepherds would’ve had. Let this serve as a reminder that no one is truly alone this Christmas season if you just believe.
In your last-minute hustle and bustle, reach out to those who come to mind and who you know have been hurting. Offer them the eternal hope that comes with Christmas!