You know the song. Can’t you just see Andy Williams crooning it out in a red wool sweater?
There’ll be much mistletoe-ing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I do LOVE Christmas carols but, right now, this song seems pretty tone-deaf. Lots of folks are not mistletoe-ing and their hearts are not brightly glowing. Most of us will not have loved ones near this year. We’re carrying the weight of loss, fear, grief, sadness, uncertainty, and everything else 2020 has thrown at us.
And yet, it is in this moment that God’s Word of hope, promise, and new life is proclaimed in all its beauty and fullness. Consider the reading we hear from the prophet Isaiah this week:
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me…
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. (Isaiah 61:1, 3a)
Isn’t that stunningly beautiful? This is God’s promise – we will not be left alone! We will receive the strength we need! With God’s Spirit alive in us we may even be moved to sing praise for the Way that God is providing even now!
So, maybe Andy’s song isn’t the most appropriate this year. Here’s hoping for those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call again next year. Until then, let’s hold onto God’s Word and God’s promises together – with both hands!
See you Sunday…