By Robin J. Steinweg –
“Okay, Mom, when do we get to open our Christmas Eve pajamas?”
“What do you mean, ‘Christmas Eve pajamas’? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Our tall sons nudge each other and eyeball the presents under the tree. It’s tradition: Go to church, open one gift, sing carols together; drink cocoa, gobble cookies, pray together, then hit the sack.
“You know. What we get every Christmas Eve. What color are they this year?”
“I am clueless. Enlighten me.”
Son number two rolls his eyes. “We’re on to you, Mom.”
I am all innocence. “I can’t imagine why you think you’re getting pajamas.”
“It might have something to do with the fact that we’ve gotten them every Christmas Eve for eighteen years.”
“That was pure coincidence. I’m sure you’ll be surprised this year.”
Son number one pats my head. “Right, Mom. It’ll be a surprise to find out if they match or not.”
I hand them and their father packages marked “Christmas Eve.” I make them open them simultaneously. They each pull out dark green lounge pants printed with bright-colored strings of lights, and T-shirts, each a different color. “Surprise!” I holler. They laugh and go to put them on.
Traditions and rituals are not only fun, but comforting. Like knowing that Girl Scouts will appear at the door in the fall selling cookies; Mr. Rogers will don a sweater and canvas shoes on every rerun; It’s A Wonderful Life will be on TV several times each Christmas season; and bell-ringers for the Salvation Army kettles have been out in force.
The first Christmas did not offer any traditions. Conquering Romans forced the Hebrews to travel to the towns of their birth for a census, regardless of the hardship it placed on them. A woman in labor, turned away from crowded inns, found small comfort in giving birth to her firstborn in a stable. Angels appeared and terrified some shepherds. A star, never seen before, lit the way for magi to travel from the east to find a Child, the prophesied King of the Jews.
Even so, God’s Word rings true: “Comfort, comfort My people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that…her sin has been paid for.” (Isaiah 40:1-2). Now there’s comfort to last from Christmas to eternity!
QUOTE: “…remember, Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. O, tidings of comfort and joy; comfort and joy! O, tidings of comfort and joy!” (Traditional English carol)
“I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13c NIV).
Today’s devotional is by Robin J. Steinweg. Robin’s life might be described using the game Twister: the colored dots are all occupied, limbs intertwine (hopefully not to the point of tangling), and you never know which dot the arrow will point to next, but it sure is fun getting there!