“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

From the desk of our seminarian Caroline

That’s what the song says…But, is it really? How many of us actually take the time to enjoy the Advent journey, the waiting, preparing, anticipating? Amidst the busyness of the season, do we take time to reflect on the true meaning of the season? Instead of seeing the best come out of people, we often see the worst. Where is the joy? Where is the love?

Case in point: At a Target store years ago, during the holiday season, a woman threatened to run me over with a shopping cart. I was tempted to write a song about the experience to the tune of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer!” She was in a hurry, not wanting to wait, and I just happened to be in her way.

Why do we struggle so much with waiting? If you think about it, we tend to depend on instant-this or drive-thru that. Even coffee shops have drive-thrus. One of the charms and characteristics of a coffee shop is the community and relationships that you build. When you go through the drive-thru, you miss out on that. Do we not have the time or not want to be inconvenienced?

But, “there’s no impact without contact.” One of my favorite movies of all time (if not THE favorite) is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I look forward to watching it EVERY year. A new book recently caught my eye and somehow made its way into my book collection, entitled 52 Little Lessons from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’

One of the chapters talks about getting to know people and their stories, as the angel Clarence does before he helps George Bailey. Author Bob Welch writes, “People respond to people they trust. And they trust people who care. So learning about someone is the first step in caring” (page 41). Clarence takes the time, listens to George’s story, and remembers the details. In knowing the details and sharing that with George, as well as walking with him, “George [is convinced] that Clarence is the real deal and genuinely cares about him. And earns him enough trust to allow him to lead George back home” (page 42).

There’s so much I want to say about the season, but I will leave it at this: God comes to us and dwells among us, with us. What a cause for GREAT joy!  Throughout his life, Jesus would meet people where they were, like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). He knew her story. She would go on to be a witness for Christ. Do we know the stories of others? Especially of those who may be different from us? Do we take the time, make the time?

This Advent season, as we are “waiting,” may we remember that we are loved and that we are to love. We were created for community and relationship. Yes, it takes time to develop, but imagine the possibilities. Like the Samaritan woman, you never know whose life will be impacted and who will become a witness for Christ. Mr. Potter may call it “sentimental hogwash;” I may call it “warm fuzzies;” but this love reminds us that we are alive, and it is meant to be shared. How will you share it during this season?

Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year…It truly is a wonderful life…Thanks be to God.

Peace and blessings to you this Advent season, Christmas, and into the New Year,


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