"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.'"
The phone rang. My brother on the other end sat in a hot tub as he talked to me. Evidently the weather had been better to him in California that to us in West Michigan. Rub it in, Brother. I could hardly open the front door for all the snow piled up against it. Next my mother reported in about Christmas, detailing the enormous culinary spread for the holiday, followed by a phone call from my sister. She gave me the run down on who was at the annual Christmas get-together.
I hung up the phone, thinking how far I was from my family. My husband’s family members had either died or moved away so we spent another holiday with just us. Don’t get me wrong, just us is just fine. I love my children and husband, but somehow the holidays would bring out the melancholy in me.
Appreciate what you have, I heard echoed in my mind as I clattered the dishes I washed by myself in the kitchen sink. I knew what the Lord had whispered to me was true. I can’t always long for Christmas past. I needed to live in the moment.
But how Lord? It’s always been a struggle to have the quiet celebrations I wasn’t used to when growing up. I remember my little girl cousins running in and out of our bedrooms as my sister and I showed off our loot, a new board game, a red and white ski sweater or a radio alarm clock. My parents, grandparents and aunt and uncle would be sitting around the dining room table talking over politics and my two brothers would be inside tormenting the cousins and outside trying out their new bikes in the mild California sunshine. Lots of commotion and fun.
I don’t know what kind of Christmas you’ll have. Will you find yourself at the Midnight Candlelight Service sitting by yourself? Will you go to a new friend’s house for Christmas dinner, or will you be tied to the stove as hoards of relatives hit the front door, hungry for ham and turkey.
Maybe you are overseas defending our country from attack and far away from any family.
Wherever you find yourself this year, make it a sweet celebration. Every Christmas is different but unique and it can change from year to year. So whether your Christmas is loudly busting full of quirky relatives or quiet and sedate, remember one thing. God will fill up your heart at Christmas. After all, He did it the first time. Immanuel, God is with us. What more do we need?