In two weeks, the advent begins.
It seems all things Christmas explode even before I sit down to have a Thanksgiving meal.
But though the world rushes in, I can’t help but notice, the earth cries for a pause.
The wind blows as if something is coming. Winter blankets the earth as if to hush it quiet … as if to say, listen.
Listen, the earth is holding its breath.
And there’s a certain stillness in nature, even as my mind races. A certain hopefulness that seems to hang, fragile yet resolute.
I hold my well-loved nativity set in my hands and unwrap small chipped and faded figurines handled not so carefully by little fingers over the years, and I think … am I ready?
How am I waiting?
Do I want less of the world’s Christmas and more of Christ?
In this world, we say have a merry Christmas. Let there be peace on earth. We send good tidings.
But it is not enough.
I think of the magi, wandering the dusty roads two thousand years ago. They must have been so relieved to see a bright star in all of the miles of darkness, pointing them to the way of their long-awaited Messiah.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.~ Matthew 2:10
What was that great joy like? Their hearts were clearly overtaken. They knew their waiting wouldn’t be long…
The holy child had come, just as it was promised. And their hearts exploded with praise. They knew God had sent more than a merry Christmas.
He had sent a Savior.
The world doesn’t just need another merry Christmas. The world needs an exceedingly joyful one.
Because merry fades. Anticipation quiets. Trees become dry brittle messy heaps. The nativity is packed away. And our lives somehow feel broken again.
And merry is not enough to heal the wounds life has scarred on us and the ones we scar on others. Merry is not enough to overcome the darkness of our sin against a holy God.
The world needs a Savior, hope that takes our filthy rags and washes us pure and beautiful, like snow freshly fallen.
I can only think the magi understood a little of this that night two thousand years ago.
And as I wait out the advent, their response to that bright star is the heart I want… to be overwhelmed with nothing but praise and expectation because Christ is here … and to know the joyous hope that triumphs over all.
Have an exceedingly joyful Christmas this year.
And I hope to do the same. 🙂
Here’s a favorite of mine for the season, the song that inspired this post: The Night Before Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman. (Click on song.)