We had a nice Christmas. It stretched out over most of the month. We got to see Jonathon’s folks earlier in the month. We got our tree then, and decorated it. That felt like Christmas, and we did that way back at the beginning of December.
Our church Christmas program was December 19-20. That had some magical moments. Also felt like Christmas, like we ushered it in.
Hanging out with the guys at the Public Works shop, and eating meals with them – prime rib lunch cooked onsite among them – felt festive as well. You can learn a lot about a person over a meal.
We attended Christmas Eve service at our usual spot. Sang loads of carols and lit candles and wondered at the beautiful simplicity of Jesus’ birth.
Christmas Day, extended out over a couple of days, at Dad’s and my brothers and our house, felt great. We enjoyed giving. We had a bigger Christmas budget than normal and found ourselves able to bless more than we had in the past. We got Zac the new mechanical keyboard he dreamed of. We got Ruby a do-it-yourself computer she can use with the TV screen. I got Jonathon a new orbital sander, and with the balance of a gift card Zac and I contributed on, he purchased a sound mixing board. He got me a treadmill. Lest you think a treadmill a rather unromantic gift, consider that I gave up my gym membership when I returned to work full-time. I couldn’t justify the $40-plus a month when all I’d be using is the treadmill when it rained sideways, if anything. No time for kettlebell classes anymore. Sad but true.
What I found myself doing this Christmas is thinking about the people I love. How much longer will we all be together? Zac will graduate from high school next spring. My parents, still healthy, won’t live forever. How can I maximize this time and yet let expectations go?
I take back what I said about the beautiful simplicity of Jesus’ birth. It came at a rotten time for Mary and Joseph, travelling to Bethlehem for the census. The administrator in me cringes to think of the King of Kings birthed in a stable. Couldn’t God who created the universe have come up with a Hilton-style room, just for one night? And Mary just a girl, too. Though we paint a peaceful tableau of the scene, it might have taken a touch of self-control on the part of both parents not to tear their hair out. How would they raise the son of God? How could they go back and live in their community and not be the laughingstocks? “There go Joseph and Mary, with their newest addition: the Messiah!” Cue loud guffaws and knee slaps.
Perhaps the striking beauty of Christmas is that it happened at all. God didn’t wait for circumstances to improve anywhere for anyone. The time had come, which proved inconvenient to the mortals involved, to say the least. Mary and Joseph learned to make the most of the moments given to them. Because that’s where Jesus meets us all the time, in the midst of our stuff. Messy, unexpected and humbling in most every way, Jesus came to earth. Glory!
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6