During the writing of yesterday's post, I pulled out old photo albums and took a trip down memory lane. My how much time has changed us all! So many people have come and gone from our lives. Friends moved away and we have lost contact, or family and friends have moved on to a better life in heaven with Jesus. It is good to go back, to remember. But it is also good to live today--to make new memories for the future. Christmas Present in our house looks much different than it used to. All the years of raising the kids were such fun! I remember (here I go again with Christmas past) the year I spent shopping for three of every Star Wars figure I could find because each boy needed their own set. And the year one two-year-old jumped on his toys in his grand excitement of receiving them. (Unbreakable, thankfully!)
One year Randy found two used tractors - one plastic, one metal, and fixed them up. The metal one needed painting and repair, but I think we found it discarded or very cheap, so the work to fix it was worth it. We had a lot of fun and have some funny home movies to prove it.
But as seasons change, and batons pass to the next generation, we are in that transition of creating new memories with adult children. Two live across the country and have not come home for the past two years. So Christmas invites use of online shopping and the post office and chatting over webcam. But how wonderful technology can be when a houseful of guests can suddenly have a "visit" from a family member in California? Or when a 91-year-old grandma can talk to her grandson over a cell phone and see his face on FaceTime? My grandma would not have understood it, but my mom has lived to see and experience it.
Christmas Present includes more flexibility on our part. Being available to celebrate on different days, making plans with friends far more than we did when the boys were small. And seeing a different side of love.
As the story of Jesus' birth in a biblical novel made Christmas real to me in my teens, so life and changing expectations has made love stronger, and perhaps different in these adult years. Christmas has never been about us, but at times we don't always realize that. We want things to go the way they have always gone, forgetting that there was a time when they were different. There was a time when our parents had their traditions, which they transferred to us and allowed us to create our own when we married and had our own children. Time for such a change has now landed on our shores.
And so Christmas Present means change. It means flexibility. And it means asking, "How can I make Christmas special for you? How can we relieve your stress?" And asking the Lord to make us more like Him, so that our love for those we love can be the best it has ever been.