This has been a year of many changes for our family. Empty nest. A wedding. Shadow's loss. Health issues. My mom's surgery. And now, a long-distance Christmas. For the first time in 30 Christmases, our family will not be together under the same roof, except over webcam. (Did I mention, I love that technology?) I will admit, with my personality and sentimentality, I'm not a huge fan of change. (Oh, please don't tell me that means I'm old!) It's a trait I've had since childhood. Change is hard. But don't we all know that to one degree or another?
On the other hand, change is such a good thing! For one, it forces me to think outside the norm. And in truth, it causes my gaze to lift heavenward. "Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Oh how easy to focus on ourselves and what makes us happy. But is that really why we live? To seek out our own happiness? Is Christmas about expecting all things to go the way we've planned?
If Christmas is about Jesus coming to earth, and not the family traditions we tend to focus upon...not the food...not the gifts...not even the joy of being together (or the angst, depending on your situation), then this holy day (holiday) should mean far more than we think. This day is about Messiah's birth and fulfillment of many, many Old Testament prophecies.
Jesus came out of love for us - to forgive us our sins. So I've been thinking that His birthday is a great time to reflect that love and extend that forgiveness where it's needed.
I once heard a speaker say that we should "creatively love" one another. He meant it between husbands and wives, but I think we can apply it to every relationship, yes?
So what are some ways we can take our Christmas celebrations and throw out the traditional expectations and be creative in loving each other? I've been making a list with some author girlfriends and would love to hear from you as well. Can you think of one new way to give a gift, to release a hold, to free an expectation and focus on Messiah?
We can love near and far, because love holds no boundaries. I'd enjoy hearing how you turn Christmas disappointments or tensions or distance into something better than anyone expected.
If you comment or email me with a great idea, I'll add it to my list and post the ideas at a future date.