Edward Pola and George Wyle, do you know them? If not, you probably know a song they wrote,
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
In 1963, Andy Williams recorded the song for his Christmas album he cleverly entitled, “The Andy Williams Christmas Album.” Some lyrics:
“With the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer.
It’s the hap-happiest season of all, with those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call.
There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
It’s my favorite. Why? Because it describes the Christmas I’ve always wanted but never had. It’s joyful people in parties, with their good friends dropping by, and everyone having a wonderful time. And later they’ll toast marshmallows and go caroling in the snow. Sounds great.
Truthfully, my holidays aren’t like that. December seems rushed, harried, and stressful. Friends rarely “drop by.” Kids don’t go jingle belling. I’ve never toasted marshmallows at Christmas and we’ve never gone caroling in the snow.
Am I a Scrooge? No, I love Christmas, it really is wonderful. It’s just that it can’t live up to the hype, and I’m the one piling on the hype. The song suggests a Christmas experience beyond my reach. No, for me the magic of Christmas isn’t realized by romanticized songs, but by something else.
Focusing on the birth of Christ is what touches my heart and fills my soul. He wasn’t born on December 25, nor does Scripture provide for special observances. Those were started by people wanting to acknowledge his birth with faith and celebration. For 364 days, I’m all about his death and resurrection. But on the 365th day, I choose to celebrate his birth. I lift him up, high and exalted, for coming to our world and forever changing it.
There will not be any snow this Christmas, so I won’t be out caroling in it. Kids won’t be jingle belling and few people will drop by unannounced. But I will be thinking about his birth, and the cosmic sized purpose for why he came. The night Jesus was born, the universe must have shivered in awe as God came near. So please, let’s lift him up and glorify his name, for his name is Immanuel, and our God came to save us.