Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What good is Christmas season?

What good is Christmas season?
By: Christopher Wiles

Christmas time does a lot of good for me.  No, it’s not the myriad moments of gift giving or receiving.  It’s not the caroling in nursing homes or cookie deliveries.  It’s not even the abundance of church/family time together that benefits me most.  So what is it about this month long season that brings me so much benefit?

Patience.  I believe I benefit most in building patience.

I have the patience a ravenous child sitting in front of a marshmallowed mug of hot cocoa, just waiting to indulge in its goodness.   I’ve never liked waiting for life’s precious moments, which causes an odd tension within me at Christmas … and I learn patience.

Cake made in 2011 by Gabriel (5) and Ethan (3)
Starting on black Friday, I begin looking forward to my personal favorite family tradition.  What is that amazing, blessed, and awesome tradition?  On Christmas Eve we light three candles on a cake made by my children and sing in unison a “Happy Birthday” song to Jesus.  My family and I all know that we have no clue when Jesus was born (could you imagine the commercialism/idolatry that would ensue if the world really did know?).  We know that the New Testament doesn’t “authorize” us to sing happy birthday to Jesus (but how much of our family interaction does it “authorize”?).  We also know that His birth was lauded and magnified by many in the Holy Scriptures. So in my family, in our own way, we choose to do the same every year on Christmas Eve.  We’ve been doing it for years and I don’t plan on ending my favorite tradition any time soon. 

 Christmas time builds patience in me because everything reminds me of that special moment with my closest loved ones.  It began with decorating the tree on Black Friday.  The ornaments, the star on top of the tree, the songs, the gift giving, and more all build hopeful anticipation for that special moment when my family gathers to sing special praise to our Living King.  Then I’m reminded of that moment everywhere I look for the next 4 weeks!  Having to wait nearly a month every year for this special moment forces me to wait, and I’m grateful for it.  After all, isn’t patience one of the fundamental necessities of enjoying hope?

          The Christmas season is similar to our own Christian lives.  We spend a lot of time acquiring patience for that one big moment that tops all others.  Oh yes, we are grateful for the small glimpses and blessings along the way that help build the anticipation to that celebratory moment.  Yet, none of our small joys compare to the fulfillment of our hope we will experience on that great day! May we all build patience that bolsters our hope till that day we collectively sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus face to face.

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
– Revelation 5:11-12