Christmas lasts much longer than one day. Weeks in advance, decorations are hung, and stores and streetlights are lit up in happy anticipation. Music sounds merrier, more joyful. People start planning parties and preparing special food. Advent calendars count down the days. Children grow increasingly impatient. The very feeling in the air reminds us that something magical is coming Christmas will soon be here.
All this eager looking forward is much of the fun—and a good part of the meaning—of Christmas. During this special season, in some small and symbolic way, we reenact the hopeful anticipation of that first Christmas night. For what happened on that night had been anticipated not for weeks or months but for centuries—even since the beginning. “The hopes and fears of all the years” were met in Bethlehem that night.
It has been called the greatest story ever told. It’s not a story of hardworking elves, flying reindeer, and sacks of presents, although those stories are fun and exciting. The best thing about the real Christmas story is that it is both miraculous and true.
This story is about a baby, a mother, shepherds, angels, and a star. But more than that, it’s a story about a promise fulfilled. It’s about light shining in the darkness and hope dispelling fear. It’s about good tidings, great joy, peace on earth, and goodwill toward all. When Jesus was born, so were hope and light and life—not just for an oppressed nation in the ancient world but for us today.
This old world can seem dark and lonely, and the way forward can seem impossible at times. But Christmas is an invitation to hope—to look forward, to think of the joy and possibility before us, to ponder the miraculous birth of the Christ child and its significance in our lives. This is why we look forward to Christmas. It’s more than a holiday; it’s the “reason [for] the hope that is in [us].” This season and always, we anticipate, we celebrate, and we always remember the advent of the Light and Life of the World. Because of Him, we can hope for good things to come.
November 28, 2021
Broadcast Number 4,811
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Thirteenth Century Plain Song; arr. Arthur Harris
And the Glory of the Lord, from Massiah
George Frederic Handel
Pietro A. Yon
Christmas Bells Are Ringing
Robert P. Manookin
O Holy Night
Adolphe Charles Adam; arr. Mack Wilberg
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing