Christmas Will be Different This Time
By Cynthia Ruchti –
“Christmas will be different this time,” I vowed. “No more rushing around for last minute gifts. No more stress headaches from the spreadsheet of our holiday activities. No more sending out Christmas cards three weeks into the New Year with a traditional holiday greeting: Sorry this is so late.”
I made that vow the first weekend of October that year. But my kids didn’t get their Christmas wish lists to me in time to get things ordered. I couldn’t find the ideal Christmas card to send and procrastinated on creating a Christmas letter because most of the stories of what happened needed updating. Where was the picture of our trip to the Rockies? On the cell phone? The digital camera? The computer?
The black-out dates on the calendar—for meditation on the reason for the season—turned gray, then grayish white, then black lettering on a pure white background…one more important activity that promised to help us focus on family, friends, and faith. It focused, instead, on frenzy.
Old, cherished traditions were squeezed out by the football schedule. Gifts were slapped into used gift bags with last year’s name sticker ripped off, replaced by a scar-covering bow.
The Christmas Tea for my sisters and girlfriends would have happened, if we hadn’t waited too long to plan the date. No one could get free on the same afternoon.
I didn’t think about our advent calendar—little windows with “The Promised Messiah” Scripture references—until December 11th.
What if God’s approach to Christmas had been as haphazard and unintentional as my efforts? What if the Lord’s good intentions were squeezed out by other “running the universe” activities? Understandable.
What if the star “came and stood over where the credit cards bills lay”? What if the priceless moment of Christ’s birth were delayed until halftime? Hee-hee-hee-hoo, Mary.
What if…this year…I treat that holy moment with the respect the angels gave it?
PRAYER: Holy God, when I sing “I Surrender All” today, I mean to include all the hoopla of the holidays. I surrender it all to You. That will be my new favorite holiday song. I’ll still sing Joy to the World and Silent Night, but the theme this year is “I Surrender All.”
BIBLE VERSE: “They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him” (Matthew 2:11 NLT).