Come Thou Long Expected Santa
I could be wrong on this, but it seemed that people began decorating for Christmas earlier than usual this year. Or maybe it was that people were less vocal about people not decorating until after Thanksgiving. I have long been a fan of the 'Don't decorate until Santa is seen in the Macy's Parade' rule and held to it. But this year I found myself a few days before Thanksgiving putting lights on a tree and listening to Christmas records.
I think that after the year that has been 2020, Christmas even seems more appealing than normal. It's not because this Christmas is promising anything new, but that the promises given each year seem more appealing.
Each year around this time we are promised that this year things will go smoothly with the in-laws. This year fights will magically get worked out. The problems that surround us will all be presented with a tailor made solution. The pain that we're feeling will be healed and the brokenness that surrounds us will all be mended with that annual advent of ole' St. Nick.
And yet, what will happen this year is what happed in all the ones that have come before. Santa will promise something that can't be pulled by nine reindeer. We find ourselves hearing the promises that Christmas gives and we long for them to be true. There is something within us that knows that the world is not the way it should be, and if the Christmas promises came true all would be right with the world.
Our problem then comes, not from desiring these promises to come true, but in who we are looking to deliver them. As much as we are surrounded with scenes of the first nativity and hear sung of a Savior born on the radio many of us spend the holidays surrounded by lights yet chasing shadows. As we long for things to be set right, and ultimately for this world to be remade free from sin's damning effects, we must echo the cry of the old Christmas Hymn: "Come Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From my fears and sins, release us
Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel's strength and consolation
Hope of all the Earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart
Born Thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a King
Born to reign forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal spirit
Ruling all our hearts alone
By Thine all sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne"
So as you find yourself longing this holiday season allow yourself to feel the truth that things are not as they should be, and then set your longing to the only one who can deliver what many others promise. For in Christ alone there is a peace offered. It is only through his empowering grace that we can look past Christmas and have the strength to not only face the future but do so boldly.
Instead of setting your hopes on the rosy red cheeks of Santa, who only comes once a year. Place your hopes in the crimson red blood of Him they call Immanuel, God with us.