This is traditionally the column where I wish all our readers a Merry Christmas. I honestly do hope you all have a Merry Christmas but realistically I don’t think it will be the best Christmas we have ever had. So much has happened over the last year that makes Christmas almost a difficult holiday to celebrate.
Because of this we may need to consider what Christmas is really all about. It is not about being ‘merry and bright’. It is not about big celebrations and gatherings. It is not even about gifts.
Christmas is about the greatest gift of all. The birth of our Savior. The person who we should now be talking to, trusting and remembering. If we can’t be with family, we are with Him and that is the best company I could think of during the holidays.
What I am going to miss however, is the church services where we celebrate this birth. We will still be able to do that but not with the traditional carols and lessons, churchs packed to the walls and socializing afterward with people you have not seen for a while. On Christmas Eve, at my church, we have a candlelight service which ends with the singing of Silent Night. This always brings tears of joy to my eyes and makes the holiday special.
We won’t be singing Silent Night this year. Every other pew in the church will be blocked off so it will not be filled to capacity. Many of the people we see there only once a year, will probably not be present. Even if they were, we are not supposed to stand and talk to them after the service. There will be no hugs with Christmas greetings. No laughter as we reminisce and no homemade goodies to feast on as we visit.
As I thought about this, I realized that not all Christmases have been merry or even bright. We have had major storms to cancel events. There have been illnesses keeping family members home. We have gathered after the loss of a loved one and tried to figure out how things will ever be the same without them there. We have learned to move on, work through the challenges and find a way to celebrate, even if it is on our own.
So in the midst of what looks like another less than perfect holiday, we need to find a way to be happy. We need to celebrate in our hearts the greatest gift of all which is the reason for the season. Disease, storms, heartbreak and sickness can never take away the joy we feel as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
And so I wish you all – Merry Christmas!