12 Days of Christmas Countdown – DAY ONE

– Only One Day Till Christmas –

Ironically, the following blog was written a day before Christmas, but due to some technical difficulties with our website, I was unable to post it until today.  I say “ironically,” because this post is about the challenge of waiting.  I was ready to post this, but I had to wait until the website problems were resolved.  We can feel ready for all sorts of things, but sometimes we still have to wait. 

I hope your Christmas was truly blessed and that the waiting was endurable.  I also hope you can put yourself into a “Christmas Eve mindset” as you read the following post.  Even though Christmas is over, the ideas still apply…

…Only one day till Christmas…

For the past four Sundays, my family has been lighting an additional candle on the Advent wreath, marking each week until Christmas.  Tomorrow, Christmas Day, we light the Christ candle in the center, celebrating Jesus’ birthday.  Each day in December, my sons have also been placing a Christmas sticker on the Advent calendar, marking the days until Christmas.  Tomorrow they place the last sticker on December 25.

The big day is almost here – the waiting is almost over.  But still we wait.  Advent is a time that reminds us that waiting is part of our Christmas celebration.  It’s the part that any kid hates the most.  And waiting is also a part of our ongoing daily lives as well.

As long as we live on this earth, we live in the “now-and-the-not-yet.”  We live in the reality of Emmanuel – God with us.  But we also live in the tension of a sin-filled world where we experience brokenness, loneliness, and pain. 

The joy of Christmas gives us a small picture of the joy of heaven.  For one day, in a special way, we celebrate God’s love coming in human form to save us, pointing to the continual joy we will one day know when we are forever in the presence of Christ.

So tonight and tomorrow, let any joy you experience be a sweet reminder to you that there will one day be continual and unimaginable joy for all eternity.  Let Jesus’ birthday celebration remind you of the celebration going on right now in heaven.

P.S.  Since I am posting this after Christmas, I wanted to share what happened to a dear man of God on Christmas day.  He was a long-time friend of the Sommerville family in Chicago, and on Christmas Day he suffered a massive aneurism that led to his quick and unexpected death.  On Christmas Day.  I can hardly imagine what his family must be feeling.

But as I’ve been thinking about it, I realize that his truly unexpected and sudden departure from this earth was by far the best Christmas present anyone could ever receive.  He is now in the loving arms of our Savior, the One we just celebrated for coming to earth and being held in the arms of Mary and Joseph.  While this is a terrible loss for his family, this man has now finally stepped from his time of waiting into a time of endless joy. 

May God bring this family comfort right now as they mourn the loss of a wonderful husband, father, grandfather.  And may we all draw hope from the knowledge that when we are in Christ, we too will one day step from the this temporary waiting room into the arms of our Creator.  Now there’s a Christmas celebration I truly can’t wait for!

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