It’s often said and sung that this is the most wonderful time of the year, but why? Is it because, as a nation, so many rejoice in the True and Living God’s provision and protection over the last four hundred years? Is it because so many have turned from their pride and gratefully embraced the goodness of God’s forgiveness brought to light by the true Christmas story? Or is the “wonderful” claim based more on the annual traditions and childhood memories tugging the flesh in hopes of recreating a time and feeling long since passed?
Too often the real meaning of this time of year is veiled and even replaced by the sights and smells of the physical. Much of these outward accoutrements tend to build deep, emotional connections, establishing memories which are held onto for years to come. These emotionally based memories are what we call nostalgia. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with enjoying good food and activities with family and fondly remembering time spent with friends and loved ones. But should these nostalgic notions be the light that directs our hearts?
Interestingly, even though this is promoted as such a wonderful time of year, for many, it’s actually filled with sadness and frustration. Perhaps this is, at least in part, for the same reason so many call it wonderful… Nostalgia.
Jesus reminds us that we weren’t made to walk by sight (being moved and motivated by the smells, sights, and sounds of this world), but by faith (spiritual trust in and heartfelt obedience to our glorious Savior and Lord) (2 Corinthians 5:7). Unfortunately, while this time of year can be an excellent reminder of our Wonderful God and Savior, Jesus Christ, it’s also a time that tends to prop up the old man, steadily stirring our earthly emotions and pulling on fickle and fleshly feelings. And it starts at a very young age.
Nostalgia is really no friend to the Spirit-filled, born again believer anymore than the flesh is to us.May we hold lightly to this world and tightly to the Word. Let us keep in step with our Savior and Lord, not our fleshly feelings and fading memories. Perhaps, then we will truly understand the abundance of the life Jesus promises His children, never forgetting, the most wonderful time is yet to come.
“Now He that has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:5-8
“For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; you shall love your neighbour as yourself. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:13,14,16,24-25
“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:10-13