Our Christmas decorations are up. (Praise the Lord!) The most honored ones, placed high above both the dogs and Gray’s accidental brushing-level (so as not to knock them off) are the things our kids made when they were children. The next most important are the things we’ve inherited. We have some Christmas china from a grandmother; we have my great-grandmother’s candy box; we have the stockings my late mother-in-law cross-stitched for each of us (dogs included). All the decorations we prize look back to another time, including the decorations I made as a child that we still use.
In all our churches there will be a lot of discussion about “she sings that song every year” and “he always does that. We celebrate with a reverie of past events lived on today.
I do it; the church certainly does it; perhaps you do too?
But that is not what God calls us to celebrate. Christmas’ gift is the celebration of what will be. Jesus came in the flesh to reconcile us to God and to one another. We profess that Jesus came to change us and to change the world. Christmas is about what is and what will be.
By that means, Christmas becomes the basis of our hope: what God is doing and will do for us. Christmas becomes a time of gladness even if we are sad now because of what God has shown will happen. Christmas is a prophecy that all the troubles are passing away: the dawn from on high breaks on us.
Because we are Christians we always look back to the God who has acted in history, to the God who entered the world in Jesus. That’s beautiful.
But Christmas calls us to remember what God is doing today. And tomorrow. And forever.
In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us.
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