What a special time of year this is, with festive sights and sounds that fashion memories to be fondly cherished. The house is filled with sparkling lights and candles, the sweet aroma of cookies and holiday bread baking, and music. Oh, how we love Christmas music – from traditional carols and lively jazz arrangements to haunting Celtic melodies that conjure up a long winter’s eve in a far distant shire. And of course the center of attention is perennially an imposing fresh-cut Frasier fir, adorned with an array of ornaments collected over the decades.

But these are just the trimmings for the real celebration in our hearts, the birth of the Savior, without Whom there is no “comfort and joy,” no “peace on earth,” nor “good will to men.” In many ways though, every day should be like Christmas time at our house and yours, because Emmanuel, God with us, is always with us, regardless of the décor that changes from season to season. He is the constant, the anchor of hope that holds within the veil, the rock upon which we stand firmly against all that shakes in the worldly realm.

It’s been a difficult year for many of us, the normal struggles and trials of life intensified by natural and man-made circumstances that seem out of control. But wait, there’s more, as those TV infomercials always tease us. The familiar song O Little Town of Bethlehem, written in 1868, declares the truth we all must now hold ever so dear: “Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

My fondest wishes for a Merry Christmas go to my readers and your families, with an admonition for all of us to enter the new year one day at a time, remembering both realities that “. . .  you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow,” James 4:14, and “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24