I used to love Christmas. Beckoning candles in the windows; time spent setting out angels and Santas and praying over the precious nativity. I loved decorating the tree with hundreds of lights and ornaments that brought back memory after memory. I loved the smells of Christmas. Baking endless batches of cookies and sampling one of each, shopping for the perfect gifts, wrapping presents, and waiting for Christmas Day.
I used to love Christmas. Now that I’m older, and both of my parents are gone, the holidays seem so bittersweet. I have everything I need, and can’t think of a single thing my brother and his family need. So, I settle on sending them dark chocolate and Beatles mugs for tea, and toys from my dog to his. I buy small gifts for my friends, and put wreaths on my doors.
And I’m not sad. There’s definitely a knowing that the seasons have changed, and life goes on. I’ve been so blessed over the years, that I could in no way insult God by wondering why things didn’t stay the same. How horrible if life remained frozen year after year! We take the bad, so we can experience the good. We accept the changes, because that’s what life is all about.
I’ve heard it said that we are not supposed to look back, because we’re not going in that direction. I don’t want to live in the past!! I’ve been there, done that! Most of it I loved, some I endured, a lot I cherished, and some I’d rather not remember. I’m thankful to be living on this one particular day, in this one particular year!
When my parents were dying, I learned that every moment is meant to be cherished, for we never get to live it again. I have learned that the stuff of life doesn’t matter, only life itself matters, in all of its joys and sorrows. I don’t question God anymore, I simply trust that He’s got it all under control. Blessedly, I’m not in charge. He is expecting me to forge forth and honor Him, however, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Pr. 16:9)
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The story never gets old. We never got the chance to see Him in a manger, but many of us see Him every day and hardly notice Him. He is in the face of a young mother, struggling with a crying baby. He is there with the homeless, the helpless, the needy, and the sick.
We don’t have to walk miles and miles following a star to see his glory. We only need to look at the night sky, or the sun setting between the mountains. He’s in the smile of a friend, the wave of a stranger, and the excitement of a young child. Every day presents us with opportunities to see Him, know Him, and love Him.
I pray that each one of you has a blessed and cherished Christmas. Just remember to hold Him in your hearts during the other 364 days of the year. He came to save us from ourselves. He came to offer us peace. But most of all, He has brought us an expectant joy that should give us hope for the future and strength for the days ahead. That’s the only gift worth giving and receiving this Christmas!
Wrap yourselves in the warmth of His love, pour a cup of cocoa, and curl up with a plate of cookies. Happy Birthday, Jesus!!