From sick babies, winter storms, nursing homes and everything in-between, many people experienced a change this year in the “normal” way they celebrate Christ’s birth. Indeed, it was a different kind of Christmas for me as well.
My dear dad turned 90 on Christmas Eve and I was blessed to be with him on that special day! We celebrated a couple days early because of the winter storm that blew through. He was having a pretty good day on his 90th!
My family was separated by states, though we had planned to all be together. Part of that was the happy blessing of Whitney’s growing family that arrived just before the holiday! We were exuberant about that! The other reason we were separated was because of my dad’s continuing health crisis and the need for me to be in Kentucky the week before Christmas and up until around noon on Christmas Eve. No presents were wrapped. Only a handful of cards were mailed. My Christmas dinner was completely “laid to rest!”
But the Lord was so gracious. He put it into the heart of my sister and brother-in-law to make some adjustments to their own plans so I could return to Tennessee early enough on Christmas Eve to allow me to join my Tennessee family for supper. It wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, but it was so great to be together! I left for home shortly after we enjoyed the delicious Roast Chicken dinner my sister prepared for us.
Christmas morning was quiet and unrushed. I fixed a late breakfast for Dale and me and we enjoyed it with a fire going on that very cold morning. Our traditional Orange Julius (recipe below) was served alongside eggs, hash browns, Cranberry Orange Bread, my canned peaches and cups of steaming coffee. It tasted heavenly!
6 oz. Orange Juice concentrate (undiluted)
1 Cup milk
1 Cup water
1/3 – 1/2 C sugar
about 10-12 ice cubes
Mix in blender. Serve immediately.
We had a wonderful church service, then mid-afternoon we joined our daughter and son-in-law and their boys for dinner at their house. She was so sweet to pick up the slack when my plans were changed. She’s a terrific cook and made a delicious Turkey Breast dinner with all the trimmings! We had a sweet time together and I got to spend time with these sweeties – always a special blessing!
The whole time I was faced with all the “different” things of Christmas, my mind raced to Jesus. His birth was necessary because of all the things that had changed our plans – sickness, suffering, and sin. These hard things are why He had to come to redeem us. In many ways, it helped to put the right perspective on the holiday. Jesus came to save the broken – that is me. Without His birth there would be no hope. Our lives would stay in crisis mode, but praise Him, He DID come!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, I Peter 1:3-6
Whether your Christmas was “normal” or not, we can all rejoice in Jesus. He’s still the reason we have Christmas, and the only reason we have HOPE! As we head into 2023, let’s hang loosely onto what feels comfortable and know that Christ alone makes sense of it all.
How about you? Was your Christmas Normal or Not normal?