In 1963 Andy Williams released “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” on his first ever Christmas album. Since then, it’s become one of the best known Christmas songs in America, consistently appearing on Billboard Top Ten lists. It’s a great song and one I find myself singing a lot this time of year. In fact, I bet you can hear it in your head as you read this blog – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with kids jingle belling….”
But there’s something about the song that doesn’t sit right with me. Or, maybe more accurately, something about the song that captures the tension of this season. It’s a list of things to do. Host some parties, have family over, go caroling, find some mistletoe, call friends. And do it all with a smile. I’m not blaming Andy; although I would like to know why he thinks kids and jingle bells are a good combination! We’re all really good at making Christmas To-Do lists. Get a tree, decorate the tree, decorate the house, bake cookies, put up lights, buy gifts, wrap gifts, send cards, plan meals, mandatory office party fun, go to church, do something charitable. And do it all with effortless Pinterest perfection. No wonder we’re all about to snap. We’re so busy making this the most wonderful time of the year that we end up hating the whole thing.
Stick with me here – I’m not going off on an angry Christmas rant. I love the traditions of this time of year. But if they aren’t the overflow of something deeper, they’re going to burn us out, leave us dry and collapsed in a pile of debt on December 26th. There’s no such thing as a perfect Christless Christmas. But when He’s in the center, everything else finds it’s place.
The Prince of all Peace was born in a feeding trough outside of Bethlehem so that you and I would know that we don’t have to have it all together to be touched by Majesty. The Infinite One is comfortable in the mess of our lives, our living rooms and our hearts. He didn’t come to call us to the impossible. He came to do the unthinkable – to die for His people.
It’s a story of grace. Of rescue. Of One greater than us who comes to do what we could never do for ourselves. He’s for you. Even if you don’t send out cards. He loves you. Even if you skip the party. He died for you. Even when you fail to live for Him.
So, breathe. Two weeks from now the presents will be opened and the dinner will be over. And, I pray, your heart will be full. Full not because you finally create the perfect holiday. But full because you’re resting in the love of the Perfect One.
He came to show the world grace. Maybe it’s time to show ourselves some as well.