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Archive for December, 2014

Chapel with Christmas tree in the evening --- Image by © Fridmar Damm/Corbis

I’ve already watched White Christmas with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen this year. It is probably my favorite Christmas movie because it so reminds me of my mom who loved the show and whose enthusiasm caused me to love the show.* It also brings to mind my mom’s Aunt Effie whom we visited frequently when I was a child. Reaching back, life seems frozen in time as I remember happy visits to her home with my older cousins (actually my mom’s young cousins) in their 1940/50s-style home, ala White Christmas decor.

Last winter where I live, the temperatures rarely got above zero; one of our coldest winters on record. This year, although it started colder, has moderated and we’re enjoying a temperate season so far. In fact, what little snow we had, has disappeared, save the light dusting we just got last night. That’s fine with me.

I used to be a bit more nostalgic on this point than I am these days. I used to say that I wished at least we’d have snow for Christmas. Well, with age comes wisdom, perhaps, and I now see snow for what it is in light of shoveling, driving, and late springs. I really think I’d be fine if we don’t get more snow for Christmas. Of course, I’d have to resign myself to living with the consequences – dark winter definitely seems darker without the bright white of the snow everywhere and the monochromatic palette of browns and tans may prove harder to live with than the shoveling or the cold. I don’t know, I suspect as long as I live here, the theory will never be fully tested.

However, in chapel this week at my school, the pastor who spoke suggested to us that it is more than sentimental Americans dreaming of a white Christmas. He reminded us that before the beginning of time, our Father God had plans to redeem a sinful people and call a nation from every tribe and time who would extol him as beautiful and splendid throughout eternity.

Who, more than us, knows our transgressions and our sin that is ever before God? Truly, against him, only, have we sinned and we’ve done what is evil in his sight. Yet, God had been planning before creation to make a way for us back to him. It would come in the most unlikely form and would still not be fully realized for another 33 years. But in this one event, God sets in motion his plan that had been first announced in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15) and promised in Genesis to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead of the never-ending animal sacrifices, there would be a once-and-for-all sacrifice of an innocent being who would willingly bear all of God’s wrath toward sin, until it was completely spent and not a shred of wrath would remain toward those who are in Christ Jesus. Marvelously, because of this sacrifice, God declares his children innocent and blameless before him.

This is a white Christmas I welcome. David said it in Psalm 51: Wash me and I will be whiter than snow. The LORD himself declares, “…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). Christ’s birth was part of God’s plan for a white Christmas – a Christmas with our sins washed white as snow through the ultimate sacrifice of his Son.

Glory to God in the highest – let the redeemed of the LORD say so.

 

[Addendum: It was 40 degrees and raining (yes, raining!) on Dec. 22 and 23.  There was no snow left anywhere, just puddles where the rain was collecting.  It even looked like the lawn was greening up a very little bit.  Last night (23rd), to keep me from testing my theory (see above), the temperature began to settle near the freezing mark and we now have a very thin layer of wet snow lightly covering everything.  However, with the snow came our family’s first car accident of the season.  It was the other party’s fault and, fortunately, everyone was alright, but we have two air bags deployed and a hole the size of a watermelon in the windshield.  Sentimentality aside… I know of which I speak.]

* Just for the record – probably my second favorite movie would be the George C. Scott A Christmas Carol.

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seeking-god

I was reminded recently that this season in which we find ourselves on this December 11th is not Christmas. Christmas begins on December 25th and in some traditions goes until January 6th (thus the Twelve Days of Christmas). We find ourselves presently in advent… “a time of waiting for Jesus.”

Christian believers are advent people! We enter into Israel’s wait for the long-expected Jesus. Like the Magi, we watch the heavens for his glorious coming again. And we bow under the weight, not of Roman oppression, but of this sin-sick world and our own old natures which still dog us. We wait for release from this burden and for our perfecting.

While we wait, let us encourage each other that, like the ancient Jews, we don’t wait in vain. Pray for expectant and hope-filled hearts in this lengthy (2000+ years) advent season we find ourselves. “In the fullness of time” He will come!

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