It's going to be an interesting, different Christmas for my family of four. I've decided to cut myself a little slack in the "we need do EVERYTHING we've ever done for the holidays" pressure. We have done a few things, we'll do a few more and it will be simple. Simple is good and not at all the style that I was used to living with. This is not the year for me to be the hero and do every holiday tradition known to man.
With 11 days to go I have been contemplating quite a few things about Christmas.
1) What was the birth of Jesus really like? Mary and Joseph were alone after all. She had never gone through this before and was all of 14 years old thereabouts. He had never gone through this before (presumably, the men weren't exactly present for a lot of births 2000+ years ago). How did they know what they were doing? Birth isn't as straightforward as the inexperienced hope. Believe me, I've done it a few times. And a first birth can be heroically difficult. I've settled on it being not that silent of a night AND on Mary and Joseph being amazing people for navigating that alone. The birth of God and only two were present. That is an awe inspiring thought. How many more were present anticipating your birth or the birth of your child? But God, he had two. And the hosts of heaven looking on, wishing them well, praying for their best. Sometimes less people is good and more heaven is always better.
2) I have had a lot of people in my life who have been bringing Christ's love right to me lately. Almost wrapped in presents with a pretty bow. The needs of my family have been pretty great and daunting for me to meet solo. There have been others, some times I know them and some times I don't, that have felt called to help us in a myriad of ways. I cry almost daily when I think about these people and how much God has provided to us through them. We are still struggling, it continues to be hard and we are maxed out. But God is taking care of the sparrows through people like you. When I have the privilege of meeting one of these blessings I often feel like I am staring at a miracle. I want to say 'who am I that you would care for me?' and then I remember Jesus' words in Matthew 19, 'whatever you do for the least of these my brothers you have done for me.' We are the least and you have made us great in your sight. Thank you.
3) And of course, I've been thinking about my kids. Their first divorced family Christmas. I hate that they have to own that word in anyway, but the reality of this life is that this Christmas will be different than all of their previous ones. And it will be a model of Christmases to come. I'm not worried about how much they will or won't like Christmas. I'm not worried about dealing with tears or tantrums or tempers. I'm not worried about whether or not I will get it all done because our situation has greatly limited what I have to do. I just want them to know they are loved and what Christmas is really about and to show some gratefulness. These are the same things I have wanted for them for every Christmas since they were born. It's no different now. So I know I will create a Christmas where they are loved, I will teach them to the best of my ability the meaning of Christmas and I am relatively sure that they will not show as much gratefulness as I think they should. AND in that way it will be just like every other Christmas.