A Season for Dreams

Our young people knocked it out of the park yesterday with our Christmas program, The Greatest Story Ever Told! Our service centered around this performance, so I gave just a short devotional talk that’s not posted on our website. With that in mind, instead of writing my typical blog, I’ll summarize a few points I shared for this week of Christmas.
I absolutely love Christmas time! I actually feel different this time of year. It’s like there really is something in the air. Christmas is a season for recalling memories, and making new ones, evoking the sense of dreams: past, present, and future. You could even call Christmas a Season for Dreams.
Every Christmas Eve, along with the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke chapter 2 in the Bible, our family reads the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” A couple of lines from that poem take me back to my childhood years, and all of those Christmas Eves when I went to bed anticipating what the morning might bring:
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
The idea of sugar-plums dancing in my head focused my mind on the dreams I might have on that wonderful, special night before Christmas. As a child, my dreams swirled around the gifts I hoped to receive, and that was so exciting. As a parent, my dreams centered around the gifts I wanted to give my kids, and that was even more exciting as I imagined their coming joy.
I also dream about my kids, with high hopes for their education, and careers, and future spouses, and children of their own. And I dream about the way this world would look if people would decide to live God’s way instead of their own.
Last Saturday was a day that dreams are made of. It was the kind of day that’s rare for us now, since our oldest child, our son, is away at college most of the year, and even when he’s home, our kids are often going in eight different directions. But not this past Saturday; our son was in the house and our nest was full. Our whole family was together and while Christmas music played in the background, we all rolled out dough and made designs in that dough with cookie cutters, and we baked cookies, and we frosted and decorated those cookies, and we watched a Christmas movie together. Then, later in the evening, while Kelly and I were upstairs going through the gifts we had bought for our kids, we could hear all of them downstairs, just laughing and dancing and singing and enjoying each other like the good old days when they were younger and we were all together all the time. I was transported, in my mind, back to those wonderful moments we had as a young family, moments I would give anything to experience again. It was almost like the sense of living a dream. Or, as I said earlier, it was a day that dreams are made of.
Those are just some examples of why Christmas feels like a season of dreams to me. But the Bible also says something about dreams related to Christmas and what we celebrate this time of the year.
Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, listened to his dreams. Four times, in two chapters of the Bible (Matthew 1 and 2), God tells us how He communicated with Joseph through dreams. God told Joseph to take Mary as his wife, to move to Egypt, to return to Israel, and to avoid Judea. In these passages, God used dreams to guide Joseph in marrying Jesus’ mother and protecting her baby from the evil men out to kill Him.
These dreams were critical: had Jesus lost His life as an infant, He would not have grown up and died on the cross to take on the punishment that we deserved. And, of course, Jesus would not have risen from the dead, and we would not have the hope of victory over death and eternity in Heaven.
As we enter into Christmas week, let’s think of this holiday season as a season for dreams, not just the dreams of wonderful memories, or the dreams of giving and receiving gifts, or the dreams we have for our kids, or the wonderful times we have as families. As incredible as these dreams are, let’s be even more mindful of the dreams that allowed Jesus to be born, and to be protected as a baby, so that He could grow up and die on the cross in our place, paying the price that we should have paid.
Troy Burns