‘Tis the season to be jolly…
…or so we’re told this time of year.
But let’s be honest: how many of us feel remotely close to Yuletide bliss?
I know for me…as the fall sun sets into what should be the happiest season of all, the stress of it not being so sets in as well.
What if December is blue, not white. What if this and that are not right.
I’m sure I speak for many when I say the anxiety can be overwhelming.
And yet, as valid as our tensions may be…as easy as it is to yield to negativity and strive for positivity, it’s worth noting we were made for the other way around.
But Cam…how do I get there?
Well, that’s why I writing this.
‘Cause truth is: this Advent season can feature some of the roughest crossroads of the year. For instance, what do you do when you want to sing joy to the world, but feel too ‘Charlie Brown’ to care? Or what do you do when Christmas is coming on too fast for one limping among shattered dreams and broken goals on way to another yearly finish line?
To help answer these questions, I want to cut away to one my favorite Christmas movies: Home Alone.
Remember the scene when Kevin’s mom is desperately pleading with the Scranton ticket agent?
“And I don’t care if I have to get out on your runway and hitchhike! If it costs me everything I own, if I have to sell my soul to the devil himself, I am going to get home to my son.”
Well, it just so happens prior to her ‘Momma Bear’ unleashing, she leaks out one of the most profound definitions of Christmas in cinematic history.
“This is *Christmas*! The season of perpetual1 hope!”
Now it’s worth pointing out a couple things:
- Kate McCallister, like many of us this time of year, is tired, frustrated, yet determined…knowing what she wants but unsure how to get there.
- Kate admits a profound truth as a means to justify a personal end (i.e. getting home to her son’)…as opposed to letting that means be the end she needed to persevere.
- Kate’s response reminds us of the potentially beautiful relationship between resolve and desperation (Note I say ‘potentially’ since unguarded desperation can mislead our resolve away from what we believe).
In short, Kate had the awareness of what was right: Christmas is the season of perpetual hope2; however, in her frantic state, she lacked the application of what was right as the only thing she wanted perpetual was herself.
Yet, while Kate could have saved herself some stress, we can learn from her mistake by discovering what the Word says about ‘perpetual hope’. ‘Cause when we talk ‘perpetual’, we’re not only talking about the immutability of God – the reality of an unchanging God timeless in nature, but also the quality of hope we internally long for.
Ask yourself this: why do so many nations celebrate the secular symbol of Santa Clause…or represent their holiday spirit with illumination? Is it not as Bryan Bedford stated from “Miracle on 34th Street”, “to create in their minds a world far better than the one we’ve made…”?
If yes, then I submit we’re not only hard-wired with an innate drive to hope in something, but to hope in something perpetual. Granted, it’s easy this time of year to put foot to gas…hoping to get from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’…hoping to feel good about ourselves…hoping enough satisfaction can be derived from momentum…as opposed to resting in our perpetual Provider; however, if you’re sitting there worried the joy of Christmas has to be earned or is going to take off without you…I have good news for you:
You don’t have to carry the load anymore!
Rather you can relinquish fear, release control, and receive a fresh hope centered in the always abiding, ever enduring love of the begotten. After all, that’s what Christmas is all about: remembering the “light of the World” who came not only to make a way, but a perpetual way (Isaiah 43:16)…even when we feel no one can reach us3.
Thus, if anyone needs some perpetual hope this Christmas, consider it’s always been Jesus…
…God from God…
…Light from Light…
…Strength of Strength…
…Hope of [Perpetual] Hope…
…breaking through the darkest of nights to save…
- Perpetual = Never ending/changing, everlasting; occurring repeatedly
- Honestly, how many people around her could have come up with a better summary of Christmas in six words or less, especially under those circumstances
- Desperation Band – “Make a Way”