Yes, folks, one week from today is Christmas Eve. I know this because I realized I have been writing my memory verse a week ahead on the calendar I have been using this year to solidify the book of Jude in my heart. I panicked this morning when I saw “Christmas Eve” in italics over Tuesday. There was a brief respite until I turned to the actual date which was only a backtrack of 7 spaces.
I have been meditating on this feeling that comes over me as the days accelerate toward Christmas. It isn’t anxiety because of any actual planned and choreographed event that is going to culminate on Christmas day.
Based on our traditions, there isn’t a lot of pizzazz to Christmas day around here. Ours involved an enthusiastic mom, a patient dad and children with various sleep habits that had to wait until everyone was up to come downstairs. I still hear the echoes of their voices as some begged for more time in bed while others danced around excitedly lobbying to see what Santa had brought. And lots of coffee.
While the egg casserole and Monkey bread waited on the table, Russ would gather us to read the Christmas story from Luke. Then it was breakfast and stocking opening. After that, presents, more coffee, and just hanging out until we started putting the pieces together for the Christmas feast.
The years we had the triplets (my mom, dad and aunt) in various facilities around town brought some changes as we incorporated a makeshift party at the nursing home into the afternoon. This meant we had to get dressed in real clothes.
Not exactly a Martha Stewart scene or a spread for one of the women’s magazines, but it worked for us.
Most of that has changed considerably. The triplets are all gone. So are the three dancing children. They have jobs and homes and maybe that’s why the days hurtling by are difficult. We have tried to find a time when everyone can be together and it just isn’t going to happen. And that’s ok. Hard. But ok.
We raised them to be fruit-bearing, God-loving, Christ-celebrating adults. And they are. We just didn’t know how loud the echoes would be sometimes and the holidays seem to intensify those.
So we live deeper. We live richer. We treasure the past in the tender, hidden places of our hearts so we can make room for the NOW. We have new voices that are filling our home. We have more days ahead to attempt to gather all together in one place. We will enjoy who we are with, when we are with them and always miss the ones who are not there.
And one day, we will gather together, permanently. Reunited with the triplets and all who have gone before us, we will celebrate; not a birthday, but a Wedding! Hallelujah!
May God bless you as you remember Christmas past, enjoy Christmas present and look forward to Christ’s return!