Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry First Day of Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 
It's the first day of the 12 days of Christmas, and I've resolved to celebrate each and every one of those 12 days. Ok, so some might accuse me of lazy parenting. Not all of the gifts have arrived. Not all of the gifts have been made. A few gifts haven't even been shipped. But hey, we have 12 days to get it all in! And the girls are only opening 1 gift per day, so they won't miss the missing gifts for at least a week. 

But as I mentioned in my last post (hey, 2 posts in 2 days?!?!? What's going on?!?!), I'm appreciating the church calendar more and more, and think it's silly to limit Christmas to one day when it's allotted 12. Too much buildup and letdown. We're attempting a long-lasting joyful simmer instead of a Christmas morning explosion. 

Despite my previously-mentioned Pentatonix obsession, I won't fill each day of Christmas with a new Pentatonix song. But I will highlight one more Christmas song (that they happen to sing) that I've always loved, and to me demonstrates the hopeful joy of Christmas and the resolution to Advent's watchful anticipation. O Holy Night has always had the power to make me cry. I never could explain it before, other than it was just a really beautiful and touching song. But recently I realized how it so perfectly explains the joy and relief of Christ's coming at Christmas. 

O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and e'er pining
'Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees O hear the angels voices.
O night divine O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night divine.

What was it like to be the shepherds that received the good news first from a multitude of angels? What was it like to be Anna or Simeon meeting the week-old Christ child for the first time at the temple? What was it like to be the Wise Men seeing the star, realizing that the long-anticipated sign had finally arrived? What does the thrill of hope feel like?

I suppose we could ask Syrian refugees finding out that they're being welcomed into a safe community in which to raise their children. I suppose we could ask a military family what it's like to hear that their loved one will be shipping home from a war zone tomorrow. I bet a wrongly-imprisoned inmate who just got their sentence overturned would understand. And certainly prospective parents who get the news that, after years of tense waiting, a baby was born yesterday, theirs to meet tomorrow and adopt. 

Long pining, weary from hoping and waiting. The good news brings a new and glorious morn. The waiting is over. Certainly their hearts are overwhelmed. They can fall to their knees, they can jump for joy. That which they feared is gone. Their worries are gone. The news changes everything. That is the news of Christ's birth. It changes everything. The waiting for a Savior is over. He has finally arrived. Advent is over. Christmas can begin.

I pray that Christmas is a joyful season for you all. All 12 days of it!

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