God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day.
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O, tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy.
O, tidings of comfort and joy.
Christmas Day is over. All the hustle-bustle excitement is dying down. There may be a few decorations lingering about the house, a reminder of the all the festivities. But the Christmas trees had all begun drooping weeks ago, their branches crackling and their needles falling off by the hundreds when brushed up against. So, the trees have almost all been removed. And now that corner of the room seems emptier. School and work will begin again soon. Things will be back to the way they always are. The short, miraculous moment of Christmas day is over now. The long awaited Season has come. . . and gone. Heightened expectations have been fulfilled. And now, the old reality of everyday life is setting in. Christmas carols, mistletoe, and eggnog may be giving way to shorter temper and sharper tongues.
A new year is beginning. It's often hard to know what to think of that, but there's nothing we can do to change the fact that it is January of 2013; a year that has never been before; a brand-new, un-lived year, like a new page of blank paper that's just waiting to be filled. You can choose to strive toward carefully filling your page with truth, and goodness. You can decide you want your page to be full of beautiful sentences, ones you are proud of. You can write down great words. Or, you can slump down and lazily scrawl out a line here and there, not taking care what goes on your page, filling it up with things you will later be ashamed of, dark blots of ink that mar the clean page, and sentences you will wish you never wrote. But the pen on that page can't be erased, anymore than the pieces of a dandelion can be gathered up again after you've given it a good blow.
But this isn't to discourage you. Rather, the opposite. We have to resolve to trample those cranky tempers. And to bite those irritable tongues. Try to keep your new page clean, and try to make it beautiful. Don't waste your time this new year worrying about all the things that may go wrong, or even the things that are going wrong. Don't fret about things that we don't have any control of, like our president, or the economy. Think smart, think ahead, make good plans, but don't worry. Just like when you are driving a car --- you keep your eyes on the road, look ahead, pay attention to what is going on around you, prepare for what might happen up ahead, but you don't spend your time stressing. You don't freak out about all the many, many things that might happen. But, what if there's a tree in the road? What if somebody swerves into my lane and hits me? What if my brakes stop working? But, what if....? What if....? If you did that, people wouldn't want to be in the car with you at all. You would only worry them too, as well as, convincing them that you were a very poor driver. And it's the same way with life.
"God rest you merry gentlemen", the old hymn says. "Let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day, to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray. O, tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy. O, tidings of comfort and joy." That should be our refrain this new year. Christ, our Savior was born as a helpless, human baby into a world of dirt and sin. The ultimate paradox: our Savior stoops to becoming a Character in His own Story. Into a world of darkness and unrest and dismay, a little baby was born of a peasant girl, in a barn, visited by shepherds. Bethlehem slept as the greatest phenomenon in history took place right outside their doors. But the angels knew, and they sang.
Emmanuel--- God with us.
Emmanuel--- God with us.
And that truly is tidings of comfort and joy.