I’ll be shocked if there’s snow on the ground in Gulfport this year. Google tells me that is has and can happen. Apparently, in 1993 there was enough snow to fashion something that resembled a snowman on the beach! What a sight. In 1963 on the brink of 1964, New Year’s Eve saw the crisp white stuff, and in 1899 weather monitors were checking their mercury thermometers as it read 0˚, and 6 inches of snow covered the ground.
So, while it’s theoretically possible and may have a catchy tune, it probably won’t be a “White Christmas.” Still, Christmas comes. Here, it is heralded by twinkling lights and large bows. It is greeted with specially crafted meals, and bells in every tone. We celebrate.
And as we celebrate, we remember. We reflect on Christmases past and think of friends and family near and far. We commit to be a little kinder and often find ourselves pulled to give generously as we have received generously.
This is a season filled with reminders of HOPE. We remember that the first Christmas brings forth this hope as the young mother-to-be and her betrothed journey to be counted among God’s people. In the middle of the journey, without the usual preparation for the birth of a child, they deliver the Christ Child. The hymn “O little Town of Bethlehem” captures this moment in beautiful succulence, as it proclaims, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
We fasten our hope in this child king. Some thought that he might be a great military messiah. Herod feared this so much that he sent out to have the child killed. And in the turmoil, God made way for the infant, fulfilling the prophecies which God had gifted his people long before Herod came to throne. The child, followed by turmoil, thought to perhaps be a militaristic messiah, was instead the Prince of PEACE. And so, in this season in which we too mourn the slaughter of innocents, we pray for the reign of the prince of peace to be realized, first in our own lives, and then in all the world.
Our hope in the one who brings peace which passes all understanding is the foundation for our true JOY. The happiness of festive displays and wrapped goodies will soon give way, but our joy remains.
Our joy remains because God LOVES us, each of us. That’s why Christmas comes, even when there is no snow, even when we are on a journey, even when it seems as none of the preparations have been made, even if it’s not what we thought it would look like. Christ comes to reign in our lives and grow in fullness until God’s work is fulfilled in us, and the light of Christ which is the love of Christ shines through.
May all your Christmases be bright.