This Christmas is Different
It is Christmas Eve, and I am in a bit of a panic. I have made dozens of attempts to write a blog , which felt worthy of the holiday, but I ended up deleting one sentence after another. Most of it felt superficial and clichéd. I attributed it to a bit of writer’s block, coupled with chemo brain, but in truth, I think it is more than that. This has been one of the most challenging years of my life, and I know that I am not alone. Collectively and individually, we have experienced a myriad of emotions during the past twelve months. In rapid succession, so much has changed in our world, and adapting isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it feels impossible.
Each morning, the sun rises, ushering in a new day. Between dawn and nightfall so much can happen, altering life in an instant. We take the normal moments of any given twenty-four-hour period for granted, blinded to the possibilities, which is probably a good thing, but when that rhythm is altered, it can be unsettling.
Perhaps this is the year we lost the last remaining bit of our innocence. And for some of us, we replaced it with cynicism and doubt. As the pages were removed from the calendar, we bemoaned the difficult surprises and rode the wave of uncertainty, crossing our fingers with optimism. Some of us were woke and others were shook, but we all felt something.
And then the Christmas season arrived, right on time. We have scrambled to preserve the family traditions, adjusting everything from shopping to holiday parties. We wait for the UPS truck instead of planning a day at the mall, all the while hoping that there will be money to pay for it all. We don our masks instead of our gay apparel, while being reminded that the singing of carols could also be a means of delivering a death sentence. Fa la la la la. We count the heads around the celebratory table and worry that Cousin Sue will be hurt because she was excluded this year. Everything feels different.
We try to remember that this is a time of peace on earth, goodwill to men, all the while, disappointed in our neighbors whose political views don’t align with our own. There is a concern about tomorrow and the day after that because the security we felt about our nation has been shattered. Like poor Humpty Dumpty, we wonder if it can be put together again, and if so, how will it be altered? How will WE be altered?
So yeah, at this, the most wonderful time of the year, when life is normally full of comfort and joy and eggnog many of us are experiencing anxiety, grief, sadness, fear, and alienation. And in the spirit of the season, we try to push those emotions, deep inside because, after all, what would Santa do?
Perhaps this crazy year, like no other, has forced us to put aside some of the commercial trappings of Christmas, downsize the decorations, and focus on the true meaning of the holiday, the miraculous birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was the hope of the world 2,020 years ago, and He remains so today for those of us who believe.
At 3 o’clock this morning, I woke from a dream where a choir of angels was singing from Handel’s Messiah, a gift of musical and spiritual expression written 278 years ago. If you have never heard the Christmas portion of the masterpiece, look it up. It is breathtaking. The well-known song, “For Unto us a Child is Born” somehow got on repeat play in my subconscious mind, with one line standing out among the others. “And the government shall be upon His shoulders.” (Isaiah 9:6) While we recognize the failure of human solutions, grow weary of political posturing, we hold tight to those Divine words. So many of us are counting on it.
Faith is the assurance that a better tomorrow awaits. And that, my friends, is the true promise of Christmas. Believe it!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. God bless!
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