Where has the year 2021 gone? It is hard to believe that we are now in the second week of Advent! For me, the Christmas season seems strange culturally. In our nation we feel the secular world growing and the church becoming increasingly marginalized. And yet the Christmas holiday seems more engrained in our society than ever before. One Gallup poll from 2019 found that 93% of Americans still celebrate Christmas! Christmas lights and decorations still go up on houses. Holiday retail sales surpassed one trillion dollars in 2018 just to be increased by almost 5% in 2019. There are still Christmas movies coming out, there are huge tree lots bustling with activity, and Christmas music is still being played and even remade by contemporary musicians.
What is happening in our society? I think there is something in our hearts that wants more than just nostalgia every year. The world knows the value of feasting. We know the joy of seeing family that we have missed all year. There is comfort in the consistent rhythm of the familiar each year. Yet Christmas is also about something greater than all these patterns. The season of Advent is about the Incarnation. And as beautiful as it is to know that the Lord stepped into our world, Christmas ultimately points us to the desperate reality that we are so helpless and sinful that only the perfect Lamb of God can take our sin away.
Sadly, our society wants the feasting without the reasons, grace without obedience, tolerant acceptance without truth. To understand the Christmas season, the world must know that we are celebrating the coming of a King.
How do we respond to the world around us during this Christmas season? I think the first response is to keep singing! Christmas carols testify to the truth found in the Gospel. In a world nostalgic for Christmas, carols are welcome songs. Come, join us on December 22 for caroling. Ask your neighbors, co-workers, or friends if they have ever thought about the words of a carol? Walk them through a text and tell them what you find amazing!
Reach out to a neighbor you don’t know with baked cookies and wish them a Merry Christmas. Invite them to join us for worship or a Christmas Eve service. Simple acts of gentle kindness point a confused world to the joy of knowing and celebrating our coming King!