Working in the church Christmas tends to be a very busy time for me. From directing the Christmas program and the extra services for Advent it can become more stressful than it’s supposed to be. This yeah, however, was different for several reasons. This year we are seriously lacking decor. Adam’s mom moved in with us back in September. She lost her house and we offered to have her live with us as housing and jobs are more favorable in the Twin Cities than small town Minnesota.
I love my mother-in-law, she gave me my husband and she has a heart of gold but with her occupying our living room we opted not to put up the tree. It was sad as Christmas is seriously my favorite (I kind of go crazy with lights, garland, sleighs, snowman, and nativity decorations) but space did not allow for me to overhaul our place into Christmas Land. Adam tried to make the best of the situation and purchased at $2 mini tree from target that he then placed in our bedroom. It was not how I pictured our tree this year but it seems to fit with this season of life.
I realize that Christmas is not made by the decor or a pine tree, not presents or food, travel or snow: what makes Christmas is the Christ child, one very special baby! The celebration of Christ’s birth feels lost. The normal festivities with family had been celebrated the month prior in order to accommodate my profession of working Christmas in church work, my mom’s commitment as an organist and the anticipated arrival of our niece due Christmas eve. We celebrated back at Thanksgiving so it seemed the Christmas had washed over me and I had missed it.
Maybe my void of Christmas spirit wasn’t in tradition but rather that I had was missed the point. Immanuel. God is with us. This is the miracle of Christmas. The whole point of celebration. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means “God with us”.” (Matthew 1:23, NIV). What God had promised through the prophet Isaiah came true on a cold night in Bethlehem. Forevermore, we could hold fast to the promise that we don’t have to face this life alone.
On the happy days, on the difficult days on the days when we don’t even know how to put one foot in front of the other…. God is with us.