Each year, Christmas arrives with anticipation and a surprise! We look forward to it, but it always catches us off guard because of the depth of its meaning. It invites us again into God’s steadfast love and faithfulness! We are overwhelmed by the tenderness, gentleness, and strength of God’s love.
We prepare for Christmas by checking off a long to-do list. We get the decorations down from the attic. We put up the tree and place a wreath on the door. We wrestle with the lights and bake our family’s favorite dessert.
We prepare by turning our attention to the most important things in this world. We renew our commitment to faith, offer generous assistance to others, and give thanks for the goodness of God in our lives. We cherish the hymns of this season. We engage in the depths of prayer. We return to the stories of scripture.
We prepare, and we are prepared by these things! With so many aspects of life altered in 2020, and admitting that our energy is waning and our fatigue is growing, we give thanks that Christmas does not depend on our preparation. Jesus is not born because the star is on the tree, the to-do list is finished, or the cake is in the oven.
Christmas surprises us! It surprises us because Jesus is born in Bethlehem despite the challenges of a census, the threat of Herod, or the unlikely events involved. God’s steadfast love and faithfulness perseveres, and as we anticipate the coming of Christmas this year, we welcome it!
We are renewed by the perseverance of love. It allows us to find new ways forward! It places hope, peace, joy, and love in front of us. It reminds us that we are on this journey together. Around the manger, we see how the love of God connects us to one another, which gives us strength to persevere ourselves.