Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

"It's the most wonderful time of the year . . ." played over my radio as I drove back to the office from my lunch break today. To be honest,  I believe I actually chuckled out loud when I heard those cheerful voices singing . . . and hearts will be glowing... blah blah blah blah blah.

Sad isn't it?

Don't get me wrong there are some wonderful things about this time of year: The Christmas Lights, holiday parties filled with laughter and silly games, the opportunity to give to those in need, vacation time from work, peppermint flavored anything, and the days reserved to spend time with friends and family that usually we don't make as much of an effort as we should to see.

Call me a Scrooge, but lately, that stuff seems to be like a giant band-aid that temporarily covers the shattered friendships, the loss of a loved one, financial crisis, the irreconcilable differences that divide, the rejection, the hate, the misunderstandings, the injustice, the hypocrisy, the prejudices, the loneliness and the hurt that fills our everyday lives. 

As I sit here, wishing to toss away my cell phone and hideaway on a beautiful deserted island until the Lord Himself returns to call me home, as I witness the hurt and turmoil of dear friends who are wrestling with unwanted troubles in the boxing rings of their lives, and as I see the devastation of family after family who will not have their six year old running down the hall to see what Santa brought Christmas morning . . .I can't help but think, It is the most wonderful time of the year.

Not because of the temporary reasons mentioned in that cheesy song, but because this is the season we remember that a solution to all this world's all of our brokenness came, and it came in the form of an innocent baby. The solution left a place that is beyond any idea of paradise that we could ever dream up, to be born outside, in the dirt and grime with the animals who occupied the barn. This baby grew up in the same broken world and faced the trials and troubles that knock on our door each day. He was mocked, made fun of, questioned and pushed to the margins. And He left this place just as He entered it . . . innocent, made guilty only by my sin, your sin, our sin. And then the Solution did the impossible, He conquered death. He bridged the gap between my brokenness and God’s holiness. This baby, Jesus, gave us a solution--another option than just settling for the emptiness and hopelessness of this world. A solution that offers redemption, forgiveness, hope, amazing love and unspeakable joy.
It’s on these days, when I get frustrated with the trivial fixes to life’s problems, when I am over the hurt and tension felt in this fleeting life, and done with my own flawed emotions that kids jingle belling, and everyone telling you “be of good cheer,” and marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow can be for the birds.
Because honestly, it’s in remembering and being thankful that death could not keep Him, a torn veil now allows access for all who come, reading of Jesus’ life, a life lived among the sinners, the lame, the crooks, the widows, the prostitutes, the liars, the cheaters, the rich, the poor, the lonely, and lost, the outcast, and the broken, and offered them all amazing grace and a ridiculous love, and lastly, it’s in recalling that precious baby boy, the hope of the world, who angels sang over, and wise men worshiped and shepherds bowed that makes this the most wonderful time of the year.
So even though the weeks before Christmas 2012 has held some tough beatings for CT, for our own community, our own loved ones and in our own personal lives, I challenge you, to do as I . . . set aside the crap, trust that He is in control, and crank up the tunes to the cheesy overly happy “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” and sing your little heart out. Because God’s Christmas gift to this damaged world is not some mediocre temporarily band aide, but a solution that this sinner has needed and will need until the roll is called up yonder.
Merry Christmas. And may peace and joy be all the fills your heart this season.