The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
The Fall semester has come to a close and many students all over the nation are heading home for Christmas. Today I am one of those students. Just hours ago I finished my last final exam, packed my bags and headed to the airport. I have been anticipating this trip home for well over a month – it has been four months since I have seen some of my closest family and friends and I am thrilled to be spending this special Christmas season with them.
As I sat waiting anxiously for my flight to take off, I observed hundreds of people swarming all about the airport. Like myself, they seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere. I cannot help but imagine that they too might be heading home for Christmas. Whether it has been days, weeks, months or years since you have last seen your loved ones, there is something extraordinarily exciting about spending Christmas with the ones you love. It’s not called “the most wonderful time of the year” for no reason, right?
But in all honesty, why is this “the most wonderful time of the year?” Without a doubt, part of the reason is this very excitement I witnessed today. Most people deeply desire to be known, loved and cared for. Many people, no matter where they find themselves the other days of the year, seek that kind of love at home, at Christmas, where they can celebrate with their family and friends. I myself am looking forward to being known, loved and cared for through my family traditions, our conversations and of course, cuddles with my dog by the tree this Christmas.
For the Church in particular, this season is also one of “the most wonderful times of the year.” And in fact, for very similar reasons. The season we are in right now is the season of Advent. For weeks now, Christians all over the world have been waiting with joyful anticipation. Not necessarily only for the joy and love of the Christmas season, but additionally, for the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! For the past four weeks the whole Church has joined together in anticipating the birth of the One who’s knowledge of us, love for us and care for us is beyond all comprehension. Whether we are people who spend Christmas with our families, as Christians, we truly have a lot to look forward to this time of the year.
As Christmas rapidly approaches this week I am reminded that although I have anticipated this moment for a long time, and although the church has been awaiting the coming of Christ Jesus, this is only the beginning. In just one week, the celebrating will technically be over. Our families will start removing Christmas decorations, there will be no more gifts and no more parties. But fortunately, the joy and hope that came with the coming of Christ this Christmas will still remain.
I want to encourage you to enjoy this season, for it surely is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But I pray that as your Christmas celebrations come to an end you would not stop rejoicing. The monotony of life may pick up again, school will start and everything might be a little less bright, but Christ has come and Christ is with us. Let the joy of his coming usher you into the New Year with the kind of hope that cannot be squashed by changing seasons.
by Sarah Piek – Deer Run pastor, summers 2014 & 2015, Masters of Divinity Student at Princeton Theological Seminary