Now is the time to put out the Christmas decorations. You probably won’t have to drag all of them out of the attic or storage shed. If your family is like many families, you have a few decorations already on display. In fact, those strays have been up all year. You might have an orphan Rudolf on that shelf, Frosty the Snowman on a dresser, or a tree ornament that resembles the star of Bethlehem hanging on a string. In that initial sweep of the house in January, perhaps something was left behind. When you finally discover it, that little Santa figurine has celebrated Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Why deprive it of the fireworks on the fourth of July? Perhaps, some of the decorations remain because we choose to leave them. They were given by a dear friend, or they inspire such wonderful memories.
It’s not a bad idea to keep reminders of Christmas around. On that day we celebrate God’s love that was revealed in Jesus Christ. God came to dwell among us and redeem us from sin and death. Nonetheless, life becomes unbearable if we relegate hope to a corner of the calendar. When we encounter hurt or loneliness, we shouldn’t have to wait till Christmas to hear again the words of the prophet: “Comfort, comfort, my people…”
The people of Israel were oppressed, dominated by powers greater than their own. They cherished the reminders of the coming of the Messiah, and we celebrate with the shepherds the joy of his advent.
The Lord has come, yet we eagerly await his second advent. In these days, our experiences of loss and sorrow are overwhelming. We know all too well that the victory that was won is not finished.
This Christmas surround yourselves with reminders of God’s love. Listen again to the words of Scripture. Hear the praises of God’s people. Eat the bread, and drink the cup. Act in compassion and mercy.