"It's the most wonderful time of the year. . ."
On the way home from a last minute shopping trip, I couldn't help but sing it loud and strong when the song came on the radio. With guests soon to arrive it dawned on me that Christmas was nearly here. There was no more rushing around, no more gifts to buy, no more house to clean. It was time to revel in family and friends and celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus.
And then reality comes knocking. All those pent up emotions slowly leach away. The mail box is filled with bills rather than beautiful cards.The world doesn't seem as bright and the body not so light after all those sweets. Decorations carefully displayed end up packaged away in boxes and stored under the stairs for another twelve months. Why does this happen?
Perhaps it happens because we focus on the babe in the manger. If we see only the swaddling clothes and embrace the musty smell of the straw-filled stable, those images are incapable of holding our attention for very long. But if we see that same scene in the context of the cross, well, that changes everything.
When we clearly understand the manger in the shadow of the cross, we can have the joy of Christmas through frigid January, windy March, hot and humid July, chilly October days, and back to starry, December nights.
Oh, come let us adore him. . .Christ, our Lord.