There is song that is loved by millions of people -- especially by children.
It is a song that speaks about the coming of an important person, a person who knows us and our every action, a person who is good and loving and who expects us to be the same. I wonder how many of you have already figured out what song I am talking about.
Before I talk more about the song, I want us to think about years gone by.
How many of us remember what your father and mother, especially your mother, did around the house during most of December? And maybe what else happened around the house during this time of year?
I remember how the house was decorated and lights were hung up outside -- the large colorful ones you don't see too much of today. I remember how a tree was decorated and placed in just the right position in front of the big picture window. I vividly remember a silver tree with a motorized color wheel. Whew! Give me a natural, blue spruce type tree any day.
I remember the baking -- scads of baking done by mom and grandma and others; pies and cakes, and sugar cookies cut into the shapes of trees and stars?
Remember how it seemed that everyone around you was doing things that they probably didn't do at any other time of year? They wished people "Merry Christmas" -- not "Happy Holidays" -- and they smiled a lot.
And people came visiting: the aunts & the uncles, the cousins and nephews and nieces, pawpaw and grandma, and all kinds of other people.
Remember how you knew something special was going on?
And you undoubtedly remember how you did special things to get ready for the big day - wrapping gifts, making up cards and pictures for all the relatives, and trying just a bit harder than usual to be nice to everyone.
Do you remember what it meant at this time of year to look forward to Christmas ... to think about the coming of Santa Claus and how everything would be wonderful when he came and that you would get lots of good things from him and everyone would be happy?
We read the Sears& Roebuck or the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalogues. We behaved a little better because we knew that someone special was watching us and making a list -- and even checking it twice.
All in all, December was a great time of year, a time in which you, and everyone around you, prepared for a great event -- the coming of Santa Claus, and the song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" told you all about it.
That is what a lot of our childhoods were like around Christmas time, preparing for a great and much anticipated event to arrive.
And today I realize that is what the gospel of the second coming of Christ is all about -- it's about good news, not bad; it's about the gifts of God for our world.
We can meet the challenge of the advent season by giving hope to others, by giving peace, by giving love -- maybe just by hugging someone who is feeling sad or tired, and by giving joy by being encouraging and helping someone who feels at the end of their rope and by showing them that you care and that God cares as well.
The good news is that when we do these kinds of things we will receive hope, peace, love, and joy in return.