Malachi 3:1 (NIV)
"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.
Back when I was a kid, I had a favorite Christmas Carol, and I couldn’t wait to hear it played on the radio stations. From Thanksgiving through Christmas I would scan the dial searching for it. In 1958 when it was first aired it reached #1 on the Billboard Music Chart. That was the last time a Christmas song would do that. Maybe it was one of your favorites as well, because it’s still a classic today. I still hear it played from time to time during the holiday season.
Have you figured out the name to the song yet?
So, what was this chart topping song from 60 years ago? It was “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” by Alvin and the Chipmunks. Okay, I’ll admit that it pales in comparison to the true Christmas Carol classics like “Silent Night”, “What Child Is This”, or O Holy Night”. Yet, it far out ranks “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”
Actually, it was the theme and words that hit home for me back then. Do you recall the words?
It’s a simple tune with simple and short lyrics:
Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We've been good, but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.
It’s a song that speaks of an eager childlike anticipation about the arrival of Christmas. “Hurry Christmas, hurry fast!” “We can hardly stand to wait, please Christmas don’t be late.”
When was the last time you felt like that about the coming Christmas Season? When was the last time your anticipation outweighed your anxiety and frustration for a time of years that demands so much of your time and energy. The shopping for gifts, the decorating of home, the cooking and baking, sending Christmas cards, the parties, and the traveling, all rolled up in a few short weeks.
When was the last time you longed for the Messiah to come into your life? The Old Testament shares repeatedly about the people of God longing and waiting for such a time. We sing about it during Advent with such hymns as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.” or “Come, O Long-expected Jesus, born to set your people free… dear desire of many a nation, joy of many a longing heart.”
While some people say that, they can’t wait for Christmas to be over. What about you? What are you anticipating during this Holy Season of Advent and Christmas? Will you be caught up in the commercialism and busyness, or maybe this is the year that you strive to focus on the real purpose of these sacred days of preparation, receiving and celebrating the coming of Christ in the world, and into our lives.
May you be open to the leading of God’s Spirit in reading the scriptures and other resources like this Advent Devotional. May you be aware of those less fortunate then yourself and seek out those who may be alone or just lonely.
If we truly share the Spirit of Christmas, then it won’t be late, it will be just in time.
Most Gracious God, in our anxiousness slow us down, in our anticipation open us up, in our hope of experiencing your presence in this Advent Season let your Spirt enfold us in your love and grace. In the name of Christ Child we pray.
Rev. Ralph S. Wearstler
Regional Elder and Interim Minister, Western Reserve Christian Church, Hudson