Merry Christmas…

For most families I know, Christmas morning brings the rush and tumble of crumpled paper, empty boxes, and delight. This year, we will be waiting until the end of the day to unwrap gifts. EMS doesn’t wait for Christmas mornings and we know that when isn’t as important as with whom. So, we will make it a lazy day, followed by a boisterous night.

However it goes, I am grateful. This year has brought pain, grief and uncertainty in to our lives with a brute force that has taken my breath away. All this change has left a lingering sadness, and a sense of urgency for me.

Life doesn’t always continue on the same as before. I know that may seem obvious, but the cold reality of it has blasted through my life in a new way. So, I am determined to savor this celebration. To appreciate what is good, to let my people off the hook, and to let it unfold as it will.

I pray that you might let go of an ideal Christmas and embrace the messiness of your actual day. It may be grumpy teenagers, crusty elders, or fussy toddlers that are leaning on your last nerve. Practice deep breaths, take a break if necessary, and regroup. Rest assured, next year it will be different. I pray you find that this year is good enough.

I pray that you might rest. Often, I get into the rush of the holidays and spend far too much time in the kitchen preparing and not enough time on the sofa enjoying. Recruiting help, leaving tasks until later, or simplifying are all options. I hope you kick up your feet, nibble on a Christmas cookie or sip a glass of wine. I pray you simply enjoy this day.

I pray that you might find Jesus. For those of us responsible to make the magic, Christmas can become a lesson in logistics rather than a moment of wonder. It’s easy to lose sight of the wonder of the Gift of Jesus in the mechanisms and expectations of producing Christmas. I hope you don’t. I pray that you might carve out some time for quiet reflection, so you can remember to receive the Gift that has been Given.

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’

Matthew 1:23

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