Just what is the feeling you get in December, like something good is going to happen? There is anticipation in the air, and the twinkling lights on Christmas trees and front doors just add to the magical feeling. The bustle in shops, the traffic, the scent of baking, the decorations at the mall, the special music at church--all herald something that is coming. Every year I think about this. What is the actual apex or peak of this holiday feeling of anticipation? What are we getting ready for? For me, Christmas Eve is the very best of it all, while Christmas morning seems a bit paler (now that I'm older I suppose), and by the time the presents are opened, there seems to be less sparkle to the tree lights.
It's the advent, after all . . . it's all about readying and looking forward to Christ's birth, even though it all happened so long ago. The anticipation renews each year, I believe. because of Who was born and Why. What amazes me is that people who may not even believe that His story is anything more than an old tale, still get excited about this holiday. Santa and tinsel may distract them from the true focus . . . but the fact that so many celebrate, in my humble opinion, just proves the power of His story and the truth of it. A story of God becoming man for the likes of me and you.
I have come to view it all through the lens of symbolism. I kind of knew it instinctively, but after reading some and thinking, this is what I see: the evergreen trees (new life), the wreaths (eternal nature of God), the candy canes (the shepherds staff), the stripes on the cane (the symbol of His sacrificial death), the stars and angels (obvious), the bells (heralding the story), candles (Jesus is the Light of the world), the holly (the thorns in His crown) . . . and then the colors: Blue for the night sky when the star shone brightly, Gold for the gift of the Maggi and the color of royalty, White for purity, Red for His shed blood, Green for life . . . . When I look around with all this in mind, there is so much more richness to this season than just twinkling lights and jingle bells. The Christ story is beloved and familiar, personal and amazing. And at this time of year, I am reminded of it everywhere.