Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate the Christmas song, “The most wonderful time of the year.” It just seems to be a song that is so sickly sweet in a way that just isn’t real. I also don’t understand the part of the song that talks about “scary ghost stories.” Why would you have ghost stories during the holiday season? Don’t we do that on Halloween?
But the main reason I don’t like the song is that it seems to want us to be happy even though at times people are not happy- especially during the most wonderful time of the year.
We are in the closing days of Advent. It is a time of waiting, waiting for the Christ child. But Advent is more than that. It is a reminder that the world is not right. Something has gone wrong in our world. In churches, we read scripture from Isaiah that tend to focus on people looking for relief. “Comfort, comfort you my people,” says the writer of Isaiah in the 40th chapter.
As I write this, my brother-in-law is mourning the death of his mother a day ago from cancer. A year ago, a friend of mine died also after a battle with cancer. Advent reminds us that things in this world are not what God intended. There is death. There are people losing jobs. We are a nation that has become divided and federal government is frozen because of partisan anger. There are other things that tells us that this is a world where sin reigns.
But Advent isn’t only about darkness. It is also about hope. It is about a hope that things will be better. It is a future hope that we may not see, but we have strong faith that it will happen. It can be found in the first chapter of Luke where Mary breaks out in song saying that one day tyrants will be pulled down from their thrones and the poor will be treated with kindness.
We see that hope in Jesus Christ. Jesus came into this world as a tiny baby and turned the world upside down. We know that this hope in Christ is changing the world and we know that all the bad things of this world will not reign over us forever.
It isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. But it is the most hopeful time of the year and we hold on to that.
Dennis Sanders, Pastor