I have a confession to make. For all of my talk about the true meaning of Christmas and fighting the commercialization/materialism/secularism of the Christmas season, I have some expectations for Christmas that really have nothing to do with the birth of Christ. I love Christmas! I love the warmth of family get-togethers. I love the cookies and candies and cheeseballs and ham and green bean casseroles. I love listening to my dad read the Christmas story each year before digging into presents. I love the joy, the laughter, the tales that get-togethers bring. So, when the flu hit our household over Christmas, I was not a happy camper! My husband, with the grace of God, made it through all three services. I missed most of the first as I was doing clean-up for my youngest who was on an antibiotic which his body was expelling at an alarming rate! Then my parents called--no Christmas dinner. Mom was sick.
"Well," I told my dad on the phone. "This Christmas certainly...."
"It sucks!" he finished for me.
Needless to say, my heart was not where it should have been as we drove to our second service of the evening. Fortunately, my in-laws were in town and had the kids, so it was just Chris and I. As the service started, I became more and more convicted of my negative Christmas attitude. I needed to hit the refresh button, and fast! I bowed my head in prayer for a moment and asked God to forgive me my negativity and to remind me again of the true reason for this night and this celebration. My husband's message was titled, "The Greatest Gift Ever" and the message was simple: "Boy, do I have good news for you!!"
I'd like to say that I hit my refresh button and my attitude was suddenly, miraculously transformed so that I, like Ebeneezer Scrooge, was yelling out the window as we drove through town, "Merry Christmas!!" However, as I am human and not a figment of Charles Dickens' imagination, it wasn't that easy. But my attitude after our second service was slightly improved, and by the time we were singing "Silent Night" in candlelight at the end of the third service, I was almost there.
Christmas day provided a much needed opportunity to relax and unwind, and, we ate the ham my loving in-laws fortuitously brought with them from St. Louis. I napped for a few hours and that evening we took a drive to see some lights and deliver gifts to my parents.
And so, I'm thankful this Christmas for family, for health, for rest. And, most of all, I'm thankful that I worship a God who hit the biggest refresh button ever!!
Blessings and Peace,