Christmas This Year
Life looks different these days. I doubt any of us could have envisioned that 2020, the year of “perfect vision,” would look like it has.
My Christmas tree is up with all the traditional ornaments: the angel with the tattered halo that has hung on my tree every year of my life; “Our first Christmas together” ornament, dated 1989, was hung with a kiss (and our kids still didn’t want to see it!); and an assortment of handmade and precious ornaments from years gone by, around the country and around the world. I am baking Christmas cookies, although I am not sure who is going to eat them all! Some recipes just cannot be skipped!
Some things never change. And yet some things never stay the same.
Since moving to Southern California 10 years ago, this is the first year I have had to mail gifts to family back home. Although things changed with our move, some things stayed the same, and we had settled into a routine. We would catch the 6 am Christmas morning flight from Ontario to Seattle and be at my mom and dad’s in time for brunch. But this year, we are staying home. And I am sad about that. So many “what ifs” go through our minds and decisions are made based on a lot of prayer. I have yet to change my flight, in hopes that by some miracle, it will be safe to travel. In my heart, I know it will not.
When asked if I had a Christmas blog ready, a verse immediately popped into my mind. One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story, even if it is often overlooked. At the end of the narrative in Luke 2, verse 19 says, “But Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Can you imagine what the 9 months prior to Jesus’s birth were like for Mary? The decisions that she had to make might have seemed overwhelming to her. I wonder if she longed for her life to return to “normal”? I am sure that the people around her judged her for being unmarried and pregnant. If it were today, “friends” would probably “unfriend” her on social media for such a thing. Do you think she feared what the future would look like? After all, how does one parent the Son of God?! As a young mother, I often felt unworthy, unprepared, and overwhelmed raising my kids. How much more pressure would be on a young mom raising a perfect child?
After 9 months of waiting and wondering, Mary’s child was born to her, far from home without her family to help her, in a make-do maternity ward surrounded by animals, hay, and smelly shepherds. And yet, Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart.
We have been in a pandemic for the last 9 months. A lot has happened in our country and around the world that has caused us to worry and wonder. Decisions we have made, lost jobs and family members, political unrest, and parenting choices that we never thought we would have to make.
Maybe, just maybe, in this Christmas season that is filled with so much uncertainty, we should take some time to treasure up all the things that have happened in the last 9 months and ponder them in our hearts. I am certain that you will discover blessings that you can treasure for years to come if you look for them.