Anticipating… no longing for Christmas

Something rather strange has come over me this fall. If you have known me for long enough, you would know that the preparation and celebration of Christmas, at least in my opinion, is meant for a very specific block of the calendar that falls just after Thanksgiving and ends immediately after Christmas dinner. My wife has called me a Scrooge, and I have been fine with the title.

Enter 2016. This has been an interesting year. On the home front it has been wonderful. Our big focus was adoption and now Adia is home with us and advancing by leaps and bounds. The big kids are great with their sister and all three are such a joy to parent. Stacy has taken on so much and handled it all with grace and poise. Even the dogs are doing awesome!

For all of its goodness 2016 has also been a hard year. Sickness and hospital visits/stay for the littles. Some difficult transitions of families from our church. And friends that have faced devastating prognoses, relocations, heartbreak, death, you name it. Add a layer of political and racial unrest in our country and wham… we are ready for something better.

So I sit here typxmass-treeing in a room fully decorated for Christmas. I have been listening to Christmas music for a few¬†weeks and all around I can’t wait for Christmas. The food, the laughter, the joy, the glorious reminder of Immanuel the God with us; all of the wonderful things Christmas promises. In fact I am thankful that I have the longing for them because it tells me I am built to long for better, for truer things.

This is what Christmas should be for us. The thankful anticipation we have on this side of the cross. Thankful for the accomplished work of our redemption by the Savior that entered the scene as a child born unto us.¬†Anticipating his return, the final restoration of all things, the end of sin, heartbreak, cancer, war and hurt. Reminded of it in every sip of egg nog and song sung round the fire…pit.

I invite you to join me in the longing. The celebration of what we have been given and the future we will see. Anticipate it with me. Revel in the goodness of a God who dwells in our mess, in the pain, in order to rescue us from it. Go ahead… sing Silent Night and rejoice!

Thanksgiving

I have seven papers I am attempting to finish this weekend and a book to read along with tons of scripture to tackle. But I am thankful for the opportunity to be in school and I am thankful for those around me supporting and loving me. For your pleasure I give you Will Maupin.

For fruitful vines and ample yields

From broad expanse of fertile fields,

For love along the way;

For guiding hand and gracious smile

To cheer us through each weary mile;

For peace amidst world’s war alarm,

For love that shelters from all harm;

We bow, our tributes now to pay

To Thee, this glad Thanksgiving day!

 

For clasping hands of friends so true,

For bright sunshine and skies of blue,

For happy childhood’s play;

For home to which our footsteps turn,

For welcome where the home lights burn;

For smiles that welcome at the door

When work is done and day is o’er.

We gather ’round Thy throne to lay

Our tributes this Thanksgiving day!

 

For all the good that comes to bless;

For help in seasons of distress

When clouds are drab and gray;

For all Thy many blessings great

Bestowed upon our well-loved state –

To Thee we lift our joyful songs,

While happy hearts the sound prolongs,

And thank Thee, Lord, and humbly pray

Thy favor this Thanksgiving day!