If you are anything like me, you love this time of year. Especially, the month of December! It symbolizes the beginning of winter, the excitement of the holiday season, and of course, the anticipation of family gatherings, crisp weather, and gift giving. I recall as a child the great feelings of expectation around Christmas. That expectation and anticipation grew as the daily countdown to Christmas Day ticked off. The days were full of wonder back then. As an adult, I feel like some of that magic is still alive, but I also can’t help but notice that some of the delight of December tends to get lost in the busyness of things.
December can be exhausting. Between the endless parties and gatherings, gift shopping and spending, and holiday events and planning, it is easy to become overwhelmed and depleted in the days leading up to Christmas. Once these things are added to our already packed daily schedules, our focus can quickly turn from the holiness and joy of the holiday to the list of to-dos on our calendar, and this can drain the cheer out of the season faster than you can say “bah humbug”. While we are eagerly trying to maintain our hectic schedules, we lose sight of what the Christmas Holiday truly represents: Hope.
Jesus was born into turbulent times, in an obscure village, under humble circumstances. To complicate matters more, He was conceived by a young un-wed girl, and ultimately raised by poor working-class parents. Yet, within 30 short years His impact and message of Hope and Peace transformed generations and changed the world. Christian or not, the story of Jesus can resonate with anyone. For those of Faith, Hope is found in the birth of Christ. That all things are indeed being made new. For the non-believer there is still inspiration to be found in the message that Jesus delivered. When we feel broken and overwhelmed by our circumstances, Hope can be found in a new day, in the love from those in our lives, and in the light and beauty that can be seen all around us. When our focus turns to these things, we take the stress and hurry out of Christmas and replace it with what the season symbolizes: Hope and renewal.