Anyone else get their Christmas lights up a little early this year? We had the Christmas tree out and lights up by the second week of November along with all the feelings like peace and joy. Someone cue the Christmas nostalgia to deliver us from the perils of twenty-twenty, please! If we ever needed “Christmas” to deliver, this was the year.
By Thanksgiving however, one of the middle strands of lights had gone out on our tree. Then the top one. Then another. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to change a strand of lights on a Christmas tree after the ornaments are all hung, but if you have, you’ll know there is not a lot of peace and joy involved in this loathsome task.
Christmas has already let me down.
Turns out Christmas sentimentality cannot sustain the weight of our desire for feelings of peace and joy in a normal year, let alone in twenty-twenty.
And while it’s not wrong to hang our lights, listen to Ben Rector’s Christmas Album on repeat, and rewatch Home Alone 2––these are good gifts to be enjoyed––the challenge for us as we close out this year is to remind ourselves that there is a more sustaining source of joy available than holiday nostalgia.
Luke chapter two points us to a greater hope when he details the birth of Chris: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’”
Good news that will cause great joy.
In a year depicted by memes that go from bad to worse, we all need some good news. The good news the angels announced was to be a source of great joy, joy that a weary world needed and still needs. The good news was that God had once again made a move toward his creation. Rather than back away, God drew close, took on flesh and dwelt among us. And then through his death and resurrection, he gave us a hope that will not disappoint: Jesus will cancel the curse of sin and death.
While twenty-twenty may have cancelled our vacations and conferences and all our plans, Jesus will cancel its death, darkness, and disease. He will cancel our loneliness and our disappointments.
Jesus will cancel twenty-twenty, the bad things anyway.
So this Christmas season, while you’re watching Hallmark movies and eating Christmas cookies, don’t be surprised when the lights go out. Though sentimentality and nostalgia and family all disappoint, Jesus doesn’t and won’t.
Twenty-twenty won’t have the last word; Jesus will.