We Wish You a Merry Christmas
We Wish you a Merry Christmas
One of the wonderful things about Christmas is that you begin to see everything through the lens of this Happy Season. For a brief couple of weeks, everything you do is slightly transformed. You listen to different music, you cook different foods, you shop differently and play differently. The home smells sweeter; the fires are warmer; friends seem merrier. Even our worship changes. In every area of our lives it’s just beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.
Everything is Different Now
That feeling of transformation is embedded in the Christmas Story itself. Christmas means things can be different. Better.
That spirit of optimism is reflected in the songs of Mary and Simeon, or those of Zechariah, the angels, the shepherds–indeed, everyone who hears this news bows down in worship and praise. Here’s Mary:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed. (Luke 1:46-48)
Mary is happy for this particular moment, to be sure. God has redeemed her from her “humble estate.” But notice that Christmas isn’t limited to the present moment, or to Mary. It’s not just a momentary redemption; Mary goes on to say that “from now on all generations will call me blessed.” The blessings poured out at Christmas endure for all generations. It’s a turning point in history, a monumental change and there’s no going back. From now on, things are different.
Or consider the praise of Simeon:
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32).
Simeon is a “righteous and devout” Jew “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” So when he hears the news it is no surprise that he rejoices since the Christ has come to bring “glory to your people Israel.” Yet like Mary, Simeon knows that the news is bigger than redemption for Israel. It is worldwide and all encompassing–”a light of revelation to the Gentiles.” Christ’s coming has cosmic effects. Everything is different, from this point and forevermore.
Bright Hope for Tomorrow
That’s why our lives and our homes and our work all change a bit during this season. Because of the Hope of Christ. Christmas means that our hope for world-wide redemption is not a vain chasing after the wind or an empty wish. Our hope is secured because the Christ has already come, and in his coming he has secured peace for the whole world, redemption from our sins, the defeat of suffering and death; indeed, all the promises of God are yes and amen in Jesus.
So while his fallen world may endure for a time, with all the trials that it presents, nevertheless things are different. The Christ has come, has shared in all of our sorrows, has defeated death on His cross, and has ascended as Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. Christmas was the start of all that, and in Christmas we have the promise that God will finish what he started.
So embrace the season and the delightful changes it brings. It is a sign to you, that a baby was once wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. A baby who would change everything.