This morning, I sit by the tree that has adorned my living room for almost four weeks. I light some candles and sit in this peaceful spot of quiet and greenery and flickering light. I want the clock to stop. I want this season of Advent to stay.
Our Advent journey of preparation is almost complete. It is getting quiet. There is less traffic. Parties are over. The air is still. Travelers are headed home for the holiday. Wrapped presents wait to be opened. The stores are showing signs of exhaustion, preparing for the “after Christmas” sale. Time – almost – to clean up and put away. Time to be still and know that even as the signs of the season will one by one disappear, Jesus is here to stay.
Christmas is the first lesson of faith. Advent is the beginning of the Christian year. Soon we will be considering Lent. We will leave Jesus in the manger and follow him into his very brief three-year ministry and walk with Him to the cross and resurrection. And we will again acknowledge that as that seasons come and goes, Jesus is still here to stay.
Month by month, we will move through our new year and be reminded through spring, summer and fall that life moves and we move with it. We will say good-bye to those we love. We will experience illnesses and trials of varying sorts. We will make mistakes. We will celebrate. We will laugh and we will cry. We will ask “why” and retreat at times to ponder things too hard to understand. We will have to work to remind ourselves that Jesus is still here to stay.
Oswald Chambers says, “We mistake the joy of our first introduction into God’s kingdom as His purpose for getting us there. Yet God’s purpose in getting us into His kingdom is that we may realize all that identification with Jesus Christ means.” (My Utmost for His Highest, December 23)
And so when the twinkling stars are shielded by clouds and the singing angels cannot be heard, we will know they are there – somewhere. Because we trust in the One who came that night in Bethlehem. We study and search and continue to learn to trust this amazing truth – Jesus is here to stay.
Emmanuel, you are with us and you are here to stay. Can I say that of any other earthly thing? But, of course, you are not earthly – you are God .
“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20