It had to be Late December

Life Worship Notes—January 2, 2104 

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

It is January 1 as I type this note. I look out the window on a cold, colorless day. The sky is an oppressive grey, the grass is brown, and the trees are bare. The temperature is twenty degrees, but a stiff north wind makes it feel much colder. At first glance, it is a dismal time of the year—lifeless and depressing. It is difficult to imagine anything good resulting from a day like today, or even from this time of the year.

However, as I look closely at the branches of the River Birch outside my window, I see the buds are noticeably swollen. There are buds the size of robin’s eggs on the Magnolia tree in the front yard. If I part the brown blades of grass on the frozen ground, I see a green base. As I push aside leftover leaf piles on the flowerbeds, I see the tender shoots of early bulbs preparing to push through the brown earth. On closer inspection and in spite of the current conditions, life is preparing to POP! Everything good in our lives takes time to develop, and everything springs forth in its time.

I often wonder why Christmas Day occurs in late December. The environment in much of the northern hemisphere can be overly harsh for such a joyous celebration at that time of year. There is no solid evidence in the Bible for the date or season of Christ’s birth. I have heard some researchers say it was likely March; others say June. Personally, I say late December is perfect. The birth of Jesus was like a divine seed planted into the earth. It lay dormant for a time and then, in its season, burst forth in all its glory. Two thousand years later, the fruit of his life, death, and resurrection continues to feed hungry souls and heal broken lives.

Late December is a spectacular time, for those willing to look deeper, beyond the greys and browns. It is a time of preparation for good things to come; a time of rest and renewal before spring bursts forth in all its colorful and dynamic glory. It is through the eyes of faith we know the seeds of that glory have already been sown. Those same eyes of faith help us recognize the Son of God in the form of a baby. New creations worth birthing come with a struggle. Being born again is not supposed to be easy; but through its trials, the new creation gains strength and resolve. Late December is a great time for Christmas. Stark and barren on the outside, but full of life within.

Come home to church this Sunday. It is warmth for the soul.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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