I’m dreaming of a white Christmas… although in Southern California it doesn’t look like we will get any sort of snow again this year. However, I share with you this sugarplum vision of sparkling powder drifting softly from the sky. We welcome the aroma of sweetly puffing chimneys, even if my nose is only slightly chilly in our 50-degree cold spell. No matter where we live and what our weather is like outside, we all know this is the season for snowflakes, holly, and poinsettias (that don’t even survive our temperate nights outdoors) Songs, cheer, goodwill to all… you know what I mean.
And then, we get to the good stuff. God puts on flesh. He comes down from his heavenly throne and is born. The amazing and unthinkable happens when our Christ enters our story. He changes our reality! Sick are healed. Sinners forgiven. Dead are raised! We look around at each other with more compassion and love, remembering the gift of salvation given to us.
But really? This is what your Christmas looks like? Every year I seem to anticipate that this Christmas will end up a little different, a little better, a little more “wonderful life”-like; less stress, a family who gathers around in harmony, friends who are by your side through thick and thin. A Savior who comes to earth says that we are made new, our old and sinful ways have been nailed to a cross. But this year, I am again disappointed.
I mean, the songs certainly lead me to believe that this season is the best. Everyone is cheerful. Everyone is giving. Everyone is at peace… right? The word of God tells me that things have changed here on earth, now that a baby has been born in Bethlehem. But somehow, during Christmas, my expectations of all these amazing words leave me wanting.
Where is our white Christmas? Where is the most wonderful time of the year? Where is my Savior who has defeated sin, death, and the devil?
Looking around, I expect a world that is promised, and I am disappointed by the world I see. I anticipate love and happiness and beauty, yet I am disappointed by my own ugliness, sin, and shame. I want the everlasting reality, and I am disappointed with the shadows that remain.
All I can do is listen.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:18-19, 22-25)
Patience, friends. Our hope is so real and tangible and expected this time of year, we can almost touch it. But we are still waiting and hoping for our Lord to return. Then we will see and not be disappointed ever again. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.