Summer’s heat is waning fast. Leaves are flaming and fading and falling. The 2020 calendar on the wall is thinning rapidly. Last Sunday’s date was a pulse-quickening reminder that Christmas is just two months away. In the near-total absence of all things seasonal and eagerly anticipated in this most unusual year, there’s a strange round of questioning regarding the holidays: Are you traveling? Will the family be home? Will there be the dinners and the parties and the concerts and the window shopping and so much more? It seems we’re almost missing the Yuletide crush and chaos already – almost! But even for those who’ve never savored the clamor and traffic and thirty straight days of Christmas music, a bit of nostalgia for what was may just be cracking the surface. (OK. Keep that stiff upper lip if you feel you must! I’ll refrain, for now, any references to a Dickens character.) For me, the hopeless romantic – just ask Sue! – beyond the decorating and gifting and special treats, there’s a deep, since childhood love of the celebration of the birth of our Savior. I feel so much of what happens anymore misses this central truth, the reason for all the festivities and madcap scurrying and furtive hiding and bakery temptations and more get togethers than should ever be crammed into such a short time. Soaring high over all the commercialism and Humbug and cynicism: Jesus! He lights up the entire world with news of the Kingdom now, the arrival of all things new, the seeping into world-weariness a love and belonging and acceptance and adoption. How can we, especially in these dreary, morbid days when life has gone gray scale, not push back and say: “Now, just hold on! This eternity saga we’ve fallen into still is! When elections and today’s social unrest and that other thing (which shall not be named) are but dimming memories, this big, fat, audacious tale, which is now our big, fat, audacious tale, will be holding forth in glory and majesty and continuing to embrace us as well as newcomers and returning former sojourners.” Christmas is about ‘fixing our eyes upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,’ about affirming Jesus’ words, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will be with you to the very end of the age,’ about crowning Jesus Lord of All in everyday walking around lives, about making Jesus famous in our day, about refusing to be conformed to this world’s mold. That’s reason enough, in my book, to celebrate. And besides, there’ll be fruitcake! ~Pastor Don

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