, , , , , ,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

With the passing of Thanksgiving we have officially entered the Christmas season.  Even though Black Friday deals started before Thanksgiving this year, the official season (at least in my mind) begins after Thanksgiving.  Right now shoppers are out desperately searching for that right deal, wanting to find a special gift for friends and loved ones.  We could bemoan it as materialism at its worst, but I choose to see it as a way to tell a friend how special they are.  Obviously it, can get out of control, but nothing is more exciting then seeing the look on a child’s face when they receive the one toy they really wanted.  Or the look on a friend’s face when you give a gift they weren’t expecting and their face shows true appreciation.  It is a time of year where giving is really better than receiving

But more than that it is a time for joy.  It is a time to drive around and see trees and houses decorated with twinkling lights.  It is a time for Christmas parties and Christmas treats.  It is a time of traditions; like riding the Pink Pig train ride at a local mall with good friends, visiting live nativity scenes, and attending a Christmas Eve service as a family.  It is a time for family togetherness, drinking hot chocolate sitting before a fire and children wishing for a white Christmas.  It is truly the most wonderful time of year.

But it’s more than that.  It’s the season of Advent.  It’s the time when we wait in anticipation for the coming King.  The King, who was born to a virgin mother, in a tiny unsuspecting town, laid in a manger, and whose first visitors were shepherds and their flocks.  Yet this child, this innocent easily forgotten child, is the one who brings peace to the world.  And during this season, this season of gifts and parties and traditions, it is a time when we wait in anticipation for the coming King who will bring peace on earth and good will to all of humanity.

And if ever we needed that King to come it is now.  As I opened my paper this morning I was greeted with more discouraging news.  The top stories included a man arrested for starting a fire that not only burned down a house but killed two people inside.  Another story was an older man arrested for sending obscene photos of himself to young girls.  A third story warned of the rise of a new cheaper and more potent form of methamphetamine.  And these stories are not alone.  Everyday the local paper and the national news are full of reminders that God’s Kingdom has not fully come.  And even though in the midst of these stories there is news of hope and caring citizens, those stories are drowned out by the onslaught of evil running rampant.  Maybe it’s just my own cynicism, but it seems that the news is getting worse and worse.

But there is one thing that can change it.  There is one thing that can make all things new and right.  There is one thing that can stop the onslaught of negativity and evil.  And it’s not a new government official, renewed gun legislation, or harsher penalties for crime.  The only thing that can stop the onslaught of evil is the one who can truly make all things new…the Prince of Peace.  Yes, the tiny child who was born in obscurity is the only hope for the world.  The tiny child who was laid in a manger and visited by shepherds is the one who can bring hope and peace.  Jesus Christ, the lamb who has conquered, is the only hope for the nations, now more than ever.

And that is what makes this season so important and so wonderful…we are awaiting the coming King.  We are awaiting the one who can make all things new.  Not that he will really come on December 25th, but we wait in anticipation knowing fully that at one time he did come to inaugurate the Kingdom and one day he will come again to make all things new.  It is a season of reminder that evil will not continue forever, that sin will not continue forever, that good will triumph over evil, and that God is still in control.  It is a time when our hope is renewed in the true Lord of the world.

It is the most wonderful time of the year…a season of anticipation hoping and longing for the King to come again.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come.