This blog post is coming to you from my living room couch. It’s not my usual writing spot, but my laptop and I have migrated from the office for the month of December so that I can maximize my time here, where the lights from our Christmas tree cast a warm glow across the room, a warm(looking) fire crackles before me (never mind that it comes to me courtesy of a screensaver), and Lindsey Stirling’s wintery tunes stream from the Sonos.

I relish the transformation that descends upon this room every December—a transformation that extends to other corners of our home, to our front porch and rooftop, to the houses throughout our neighborhood and our city, and even to distant lands I will never see. All the world looks a little different in December, when faux-snow blankets lawns and mistletoe hangs in doorways, carols stream across the airwaves and storefronts twinkle with pinpoints of white light. Few aspects of our lives are immune to December’s transformation, with our schedules, decor, media choices, menus, and even our coffee cups adjusting to the holiday season that distinguishes itself from every other month of the year.

There is ordinary time. AND THERE IS CHRISTMAS—all because a baby was born in an inauspicious town, in the most unconventional of ways, two thousand years ago. That one holy night utterly transformed everything—for the month of December, and for all of eternity.

True, not everyone who strings their home with lights or dons an ugly Christmas sweater this month will do so in recognition of the Messiah’s birth. The sacred has been secularized, with traditions merging and spilling into one another so that it can be difficult to see where Christ has been removed from Christmas, where He’s been re-introduced, and where He never existed in the first place. But Christ IS the originator and Star Attraction of the Christmas Season, whether we care to acknowledge Him or not. To quote Hamilton Wright Mabie, we are all (willingly or unwittingly) enveloped in “the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

To my mind, Christmas is a tiny glimpse of what we will experience in Heaven. Not the commercialization or the frenzy or the heaviness of expectations—those parts of Christmas will be left behind. But the joyfulness of Christmas, the warmth and good will, the celebration and merriment, the centrality of our Lord and Savior? Those aspects of modern Decembers are a foretaste of what awaits.

Back in September, when I selected Psalm 96 as the passage I would memorize in the final months of 2023, I did not realize how beautifully the psalm’s concluding verses align with the celebration of Christmas. In these verses, the psalmist writes that the “trees of the forest will shout for joy before the Lord.” How fitting that my living room corner is currently occupied by a forest tree fulfilling the very purpose prophesied in the psalm. With its branches adorned with ornaments marking years of family memories, our tree is a testament to God’s faithfulness in my family. White bulbs illuminating its boughs echo the truth of Jesus, who is light. The pinnacle star harkens back to that first Christmas night, when the Lord announced the arrival of a King. My Christmas tree, in its own subtle way, is shouting with joy before the Lord that the King has come and will come again.

In December, the world is made beautiful and new . . . a foretaste of a new Heaven and a new Earth, where the Lord will judge with righteousness and faithfulness, and hearts will bow down before Him. Come, Let Us Adore Him!

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