Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Lights, music, parties, sales, trees, decorations, Santas, Salvation army volunteers on every corner, commercials...commercials....commercials....it's that time of year again.  It snuck up on us like that birthday with a "big 0" .   Just as we are ridding ourselves of that "full" feeling of turkey, stuffing and pie, we are pulling out the boxes, cutting that tree and changing the look of our entire house.

I actually love this time of year, following on the footsteps of another favorite season.  Like autumn, I relish the smells, sights and sounds of the holiday season.  The day after Thanksgiving, I am getting down the boxes and setting up Tinseltown in my home.  Although there is not a Santa Claus to be seen, there are lots of fairy lights and candles.  And I try to make the festive feeling in my home last as long as possible.  

Okay, not my home, but isn't it a picture of Christmas coziness?

As I put up some garland and lights yesterday, I tuned into a local radio station that plays non-stop Christmas music.  Lively, sentimental, rock-around-the-clock Christmas music.  It was fun.  I was by myself (that part not so fun), but I did get the job done.  Only thing left is the tree, of which I have recruited my oldest daughter and the boyfriend of my youngest daughter to help adorn the centerpiece of the living area.  Normally, my youngest daughter and I make this a yearly ritual and memory as we do it together...eggnog and lights.  She is away in Germany right now and Christmas in China on a missions trip, but I wasn't about to tackle the tree by myself.  Hence, my offer to feed and furnish music to finish the last of the festooning and garnishing of the season.

Yesterday as I was sweeping up the needles, I was again bombarded with "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" from the radio...for probably the 6th or 7th time that day.  As the thought of "not again" crept in, I stopped in my tracks and realized not once had I heard a song that mentioned Jesus.  All day long the tunes were played, and no "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful", no "Joy to the World", no "Little Town of Bethlehem".  (whoops, sorry, they did play "Little Drummer Boy").  But overall, not a mention of the whole reason for the season.  I was saddened as I thought about how the music most people love and listen to at Christmas is not the heart and soul of Christmas at all.  Jesus replaced with "Last year I gave you my heart, the very next day, you gave it away."  Seriously???

We are coming into the Advent season...those four weeks (Sundays) prior to Christmas where we prepare for the "coming" of Jesus.  (you can read past posts from Decembers on meaning and tradition).  However, to borrow a thought I read recently in an email from a friend..."Advent derives from the Latin and means coming or approaching.  For those of us who travel a lot, nothing is more valued as we approach our destination than to be warmly welcomed; a welcome symbolizes so much, almost becoming sacramental."  Oh, the years of traveling where when I finally reached where I needed to be, that welcome meant more to me than any gold or riches.  That feeling of "you are welcome here....let me make you comfortable".  "Let me make you understand the journey you just took is worthwhile and valued....we appreciate why you came and the sacrifice it took to get here."

May I offer the suggestion as we finish off November and enter into "the most wonderful time of the year" and the busiest, that we take time to ponder "who" we are welcoming.  He's come on quite a journey, He's paid a heavy price to come, He's the real and only reason for this celebration, and He came for you and for me.  And He is worthy of the most awesome WELCOME we can provide.


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