Merry belated Christmas to everyone. As I write this post 2 days after Christmas (at least on the western calendar; the Orthodox Church uses a different liturgical calendar), all the good feelings of Christmas is starting to fade. Tomorrow is Monday, December 28, and some people have to be back to work.
Despite COVID-19, the civil unrests in the summer, and all restrictions against big gatherings, I hope you all had a good time with family. For me, beginning Christmas Eve and until last night, I ate my mom’s delicious dishes – lamb roast, game hen, and a goulash last night.
However, I also know for many that Christmas was NOT a good time. In fact, it was a fail for them. Maybe you have someone in the military who is deployed. There is an empty chair. Maybe someone died this year; it doesn’t really matter how they died. It just matters that there is an empty chair.
On Christmas Eve, as I was driving down to my parents’ house, I was listening the radio to Cheryl Broderson, daughter of the late Chuck Smith of the Calvary Chapel movement, and how she recounted stories of the Christmas fails in her family. For example, one year, her brothers were fighting and nearly destroying the Christmas tree. Then there was the story about her first year in England where nothing seemed to work out with yet another Christmas tree and her cinnamon rolls not rising in time. These stories are etched in memory because they are so horrible.
Christmas ought to be magical but when it fails, we are left with an empty feeling. I know. A few years ago, I was really looking forward to one particular Christmas party, but the event came and went and I never got the invitation. Now, I am left with other people’s memories when I see their pictures. I later found why I wasn’t invited; it was not because of a slight, but it still hurts. Sure, I tried to still celebrate at the other parties, but it just was not the same.
I am sure you have stories of disastrous Christmases past. Food destroyed? Family fighting? Being hospitalized? I just found out my pastor’s young daughter had to get stitches on Christmas Eve.
So what do you? Two days have passed since Christmas. Maybe binge watch all the Hallmark movies you Tivo-ed? Have a do-over Christmas? Or maybe start planning for Christmas 2021?
I want you to remember God has promised His presence which is far better than any good feelings at Christmas. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you, even if this year was a horrible year. Immanuel: “God with us”. That is His promise regardless of the calendar date, whether it is May 25 or December 25.
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