Much of the joy of life comes from anticipation. Who has not looked forward to a weekend, a reunion, a trip, or a holiday? The anticipation can be just as exciting as the event itself. It gives us a sense of hope for the future, a reason to keep going when life gets us down. In the cold, stark winter, we dream of the warmth and life of spring. On hot summer days, we look forward to the brisk, refreshing weather of fall. And when the harvest season ends, we await what is perhaps the most anticipated season of all the advent of Christmas.
As the weather changes and the nights grow longer, bright lights appear on homes and storefronts. Even the sky above seems to be decorated with brighter than usual stars. The twinkling lights radiate joyfulness that almost gets brighter as Christmas day approaches.
Not only do the lights become more dazzling, but our spirits also seem to lift. Despite the busyness that has become part of the season, we know deep down that Christmas is about more than rushing and revelry, more than purchasing and posting packages. Even if very few gifts are involved, this Christmas can be a season of thanksgiving. Whether we're lonesome or surrounded by loved ones, this can be a season of gladness. If we can think a little less about things and a little more about people, then even for those who feel disheartened or forgotten this can be a season of joy.
What if this Christmas we thought of someone who needs our time, love, compassion and kindness? What if we slowed down a little, simplified a bit, maybe shopped a little less and reflected a little more on the meaning of that holiest of nights? What if we really centered our hearts, our activities, and our intentions on the long-anticipated gift that came into the world that glorious night? This season, let us look forward to all that is wonderful and good as we sing, "Joy to the world, the Lord is come."
Lloyd D. Newell