There’s so much hype and hurry as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, yet I’ve already seen a Christmas tree out on the curb. It’s as if taking down the tree and putting away the decorations can’t be done quickly enough for some people.
This Christmas season (yes, we celebrate the entire season at my house, leaving the tree and decorations up until Epiphany) has found me in a more thoughtful mood. Oh, I’ve enjoyed the fun of gathering with family and I look forward to a gathering of childhood friends this coming weekend. I’ve enjoyed the goodies I don’t allow myself in such quantities at other times of the year. Yet, a combination of factors is causing me to take every gathering with loved ones more seriously as well.
LIFE IS FLEETING
This is the first Christmas my husband and his siblings celebrated without either of their parents. My younger brother and several close friends are battling cancer. One of them lost a dear friend, uncle, and older brother this year. We didn’t realize last Christmas or even when we celebrated her 70th birthday last April, that my mother-in-law would be gone in early May, just shy of a year after her husband’s passing. My world was shaken when my brother Mark was diagnosed with cancer this past summer. A coworker is struggling through these first holidays as she mourns the loss of her dear mother.
What I’m learning from the experiences of this last year is that life is fragile and no one has an expiration date marked on the bottom of his or her foot. Every day is a gift, and every encounter with another is an opportunity to grow in and share love. I’ve never been a live-on-the-surface type, but I realize that my own selfishness often prevents me from being truly present to the ones I love.
TIME FOR JOY
We celebrate the coming of Emmanuel (God-with-us) at Christmas. Jesus became one of us, pitched his tent among us—all with the purpose of revealing God’s love and presence to us in a personal way. What an amazing gift! I’d like to move forward from this Christmas with a goal of living the spirit of Christmas every day throughout the year. The word “joy” keeps coming at me from different directions lately. I think God is calling me to be a more joyful and serve as a reminder to others of God’s great love in this coming year.
What about you? Will you join me in living the spirit of Christmas every day?
photo credit: photoxpress.com / julien tromeur