On the way to work this morning the story on NPR was not sufficiently interesting so I checked out the other stations programmed into my car’s radio and heard Christmas music. I was kind of surprised since I usually don’t expect this until after Thanksgiving. While we expect Christmas displays in stores following Halloween, we don’t expect Christmas music until December.
Somehow I didn’t automatically suspect that the music was in support of crass commercialism. Instead I had a whole different thought. Throughout history, as particularly portrayed in the Old Testament, people would turn to God when things went badly. One tribe or another among the Israelites would be conquered. This usually followed a significant straying from the teachings and the law. They would then realize that they had offended God, and humbly return to Him. Fortunately, His description of being “Loving and Forgiving” is accurate. He would forgive them and help them through their troubles.
The past few years have been rough for almost everybody. The economy is not only bad here but also in Greece, Italy and Spain. We’ve had our share of earthquakes, storms and other disasters. These strains take their toll on individuals and families; how many families have fallen apart because of the stress of external problems?
Of course the ultimate answer from God was to send His son as our Messiah. People looked forward to His coming as the answer to their prayers. It is just as appropriate that we see Him as the answer to our prayers and look forward to Christmas as a celebration of that fact. Longing for Him as an answer is as appropriate in 2011 as it was in the years BC*.
So maybe this year more people will get in the real Christmas spirit of preparing, thinking, praying to God for an answer to their concerns. That’s a thought that puts me in the Christmas mood.
* BC means “Before Christ” NOT “Before the Common Era.”