The most wonderful time of the year… or…?!?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… at least that’s what the song made popular by Andy Williams in the ’60s says. It continues, “With the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer… it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

The song goes on to say, “There’ll be parties for hosting/marshmallows for roasting/and caroling out in the snow. There’ll be scary ghost stories/and tales of the glories/of Christmases long, long ago.”

For sure we won’t be caroling in the snow here in Thailand! Roasting marshmallows is a possibility, and yet what we can do here in the tropics — as well as around the globe — is to tell the “tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago,” the tales of the very first Christmas.

Christmas is, after all, the commemoration of when God came to earth as a baby, that hard-to-fathom and yet true event of God becoming man. It’s the birthday party, so to speak, of Jesus. Unfortunately, though, our world has taken this sacred miracle and turned it into a sentimental, money-making frenzy.

I find that I sometimes fall into the “frenzy trap” as well. Not a buying frenzy, but a busyness frenzy. Yes, it’s great to get together with friends and family… but to the exclusion of remembering the Christ Child? So many events get jam-packed into this month, so many expectations abound — often fueled by past celebrations to the exclusion of reality, so many disappointments ensue because of unfulfilled expectations… definitely not the way I would want anyone to remember my birthday!

Part of what I wrestle with annually is being more realistic, especially regarding expectations. We’ve lived overseas a long time, and I usually get quite sentimental this time of year. I miss family. Period. And yet I realize I have an idealized mental image of what being together should look like. Letting go of that expectation and opening my heart to other ways God may want to provide “family” has been and continues to be crucial for finding joy in this holiday season.

The busyness frenzy can also rob me of daily time with the Lord. Kind of ironic when you think of it… how other things can derail my attention from focusing on the wonder of Christ coming to earth. And with that derailment I lose perspective. Ugh. NOT good!

Hmm… makes me wonder how I can be more intentional to tell “the tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.”

May we all guard our hearts, our minds, AND our time this Advent season so that we don’t miss out on the joy that comes in knowing the Christ Child as our Savior, our friend, our counselor, our mighty God, our everlasting Father. And by doing so, may we continue to have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life.”

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