I’ll admit it. I have always been a Hallmark-watching, over-the-top lover of all things Christmas, but as a parent, I love the holidays differently now. I want my children to love these times as much as I used to, but for me, they are not so “perfect” anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited about the snow, time with family, and the opportunity to focus on and celebrate Christ, but the expectations have changed. I have to keep a calendar reminding me of the band concert, Christmas programs, children’s choir practice, work Christmas party, and the brunch for my Titus 2 group. I feel guilty because some people buy presents for EVERYONE —co-workers, bosses, friends, and the letter carrier—yet I feel like I can barely buy for my immediate family. Not to mention the cards I am supposed to get out, if I do at all. By December 20th I am exhausted, realizing that I failed again to accomplish the holiday tasks I aspired to do, tasks which others seem to accomplish without a hitch.
As I ponder this unique 2020 Christmas season, I am convicted when I consider the shepherd’s excitement to see the Christ-child so many years ago. Upon hearing the good news from the angelic assembly, they responded, “‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about’ . . . when they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them . . .the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:15,17-18,20). Oh, that my family would capture their excitement and embrace the joy of the Advent season!
A Mary Season
COVID has changed our lives in so many ways this year. It is safe to say our holiday season will change as well. There will likely be fewer holiday activities, less travel, and smaller celebrations. We’ll likely miss the annual school play. Some families may not gather together this season. And only time will tell how the Christmas Eve candlelight service will look. The all too familiar refrain of disappointment will be heard everywhere this December…