We Need the Hope of Christmas Now

November 18, 2018

Simply and directly, our world is not what it should be. And the Advent and Christmas season offer the expectancy of what should be.

Our world seems hell-bent on self-destruction, but God who became incarnate in Christ offers us a different way, a better way. A way that is pregnant with anticipation for the love that we might share with one another.

I think one of my greatest regrets is that for the first twenty-six years of my life, I was a liturgical Scrooge who wanted nothing to do with carols and tinsel until sundown on Christmas Eve, when the church marks the beginning of Christmas. I know I will be in trouble for saying this, but perhaps the church needs to reconsider.

Since before the dawn of time, humanity has yearned for a better way of doing things. As we evolved into the twenty-first century, we have seen the proliferation of technology, of culture, of life itself. But we have also experienced tragedy and war and pain, and we remain divided and sad. But the hope of Christmas, at least for me, is learning to believe in the basics of faith again: that God in God’s goodness loved the created order enough to engage with it.

You may be thinking we’re too far gone for that, but I implore you to consider the hope of the season of Advent and Christmas and maybe, just maybe, engage in the incarnation a little early this year.

So go ahead. Put your tree up, decorate it, spend time with your family, and enjoy the season, because we need a little Christmas right this very minute. We need the hope of Christ coming to earth both then and there and here and now.

Isn’t it a magnificent story? The most amazing part about it for me is that it can happen again. Every time we love the other, every time we welcome the stranger or visit someone in prison, we are doing so to the Christ we worship.

Perhaps this year you can buck tradition and put up your tree early.

Perhaps this year you could give in and volunteer at the soup kitchen.

Perhaps this is the year you call your parents and try to make amends.

Perhaps this year you can get help for your mental illness.

Whatever it is, let this be the year for change and for hope. We need those two things now more than ever.

This post originally appeared in the Statesville Record, and was published in The Pulpit & the Paper: A Pastor’s Coming of Age in Newsprint by Robert W. Lee.

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