If all good things must come to an end, I’m so glad this ending comes after Christmas. The trees have been hauled out, all signs of taped-up paper and bits of ribbon bagged and dumped. Carols have faded from the airwaves as we get back to “life as usual.” We put a big fat period at the end of the Magnificat and find two more dots after it. You can’t be too careful trying to protect your endings around here—God has a way of spilling them over into continuations of His story. You want a period and discover an ellipsis. This is the frustratingly great news of the kingdom: all good things don’t come to an end.
“Kassie Warren.” Silence filled the gymnasium as his voice died slowly, a hundred breathless students behind me. I approached the microphone and prayed for Jesus to come back before I got there. He didn’t. “Upheave,” the man pronounced. Oh! I totally knew this! “Upheave,” I repeated in my fifth-grade voice. “U. P. H. E. A. V. … Upheave.”
It was my first and last assigned word at the Creek County spelling bee, and even then, I had an inkling that the term would be burned into my brain for the rest of my life: the tragic case of the missing E.
Buddy the elf embarked on an adventure because he wanted a relationship with his dad. Rudolph longed for the approval of his papa. Ralphie was terrified of his dad’s temper. Clark gave his family a man who daydreamed about abandoning them for an underwear model. Howard spent the entirety of his movie trying to make up for his absenteeism by buying off his son. And the poor grinch didn’t even have a father.
Mamas have been singing about their little ones for many, many years, but only Mary gets to sing simultaneously of her baby and her God. Let’s eavesdrop for a moment at how she begins this beautiful Christmas anthem.
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”
I’m a serial dater. Technically, I’ve been dating the same man for 12 years now, but that qualifies, right?
I think I’ll always be a fan of date nights. There’s just something about a hard stop in the middle of the week that is both comforting and exciting. No matter what, come Thursday, Riley and I will be spending quality time together. If it’s a chaotic season for us, we plan a bit of quiet (like an evening reading in front of the fire or dinner and a movie in); during the long stretches of regularity, date night brings new adventures for us (like exploring a nearby town or ice skating).
Have you noticed that there’s a soundtrack for each season? This particular moment in the calendar year sways to the happy pops of a fireplace, scissors gliding across wrapping paper, and familiar melodies wearing themselves out over the grocery store loudspeakers. If you turn down this buzz and attune your ears to the crisp pages of Scripture flipping toward the gospel of Luke, you’ll hear the faint murmur of a different (but very old) anthem. Let’s increase the volume and listen in.
This is the season of the Hallelujah Chorus, and those jubilant notes of hope wiggle their way into every crevice of December: under the covers with a bedtime story, into your mittens, through the spicy scent of cinnamon, permeating the air with a buzz of victory. May your happiest moments swell with the heavens, and may your hardest moments remind you that Christ is now, as He was on that eternally anticipated night, God-With-Us. His cry still pierces the heart of the dark, but that voice, once so vulnerable and tiny, now belongs to our Warrior King triumphant, and His whoops of joy will not be silenced.