Christmas Past and Present
With Christmas upon us, my memories always goes back to the nativity scene of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus being born in the stable. As a child, my dad would always read the Christmas story out of the Bible on Christmas Eve. My favorite part of the Christmas story is: Luke 2:10-14 reads: But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on: whom his favor rests.”
Later in life, my children were often in plays in preschool or Christmas programs at church where they would perform in a play acting out the story of Jesus birth. Such fond memories they were and are still today. I’m sure I am not alone when I say I enjoy the Christmas music of small children. They seem to just put a smile on one’s face right? Nothing better than the reality that children bring to the holidays.
However, things in life happen to not always make things seem happy. There are changes some more extreme than others. For some, our children grow up, move one, get married (sometimes) and sometimes their jobs take them to other parts of the country. For some of us, our parents have grown old, are not in good health or have passed away. For others, we have lost a child, grandchild, sibling or our spouse. These are pretty dramatic losses in our lives and difficult to go on.
For some of you, these first couple of years are still very painful. For others, you may be thinking about some changes to the holidays. I am one who truly has loved tradition. But sometimes circumstances change in our live which may cause the traditions to change. May I offer some suggestions? Some of these may be way off base for you but some will give you permission to change things up:
- Break a tradition:
- If you have been the host to holiday’s in the past, suggest one of you children or other family member host these first few holidays.
- Invite another person to your holiday who is also alone.
- Perhaps this year is just too difficult to be with others, give yourself permission to spend it alone. Next year will be a new year to go back to your traditions.
- · Remembering your spouse:
o Put together a memory book of your spouse. You may also invite others to add memories to this book. This doesn’t need to be just for the holidays but can be for all year long
o Make or purchase decorations in honor of you loved one.
o Continue to hang the stocking of your loved one. Let your guests know ahead of time to bring a written note of your loved one and put it in their stocking. Take turns pulling the memories out of the stocking and read them. Hopefully, you will have some happy memories that will make you laugh and sometimes cry.
o Donate to a charity of your choice in honor of your loved one.
- · What about you?
o Perhaps schedule a massage, pedicure or manicure for yourself.
o It’s ok to turn down events that you are having a hard time attending.
o Be honest with your family and friends on what you are feeling. Unless they have been in your shoes, they may not understand your choices.
This is a new season of life for you with many new changes… Remember the promise regarding Jesus birth from the Old Testament which says: Isaiah 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. As with the promise of Jesus birth from the Old Testament to the reality of the New Testament, we have the hope that we will be able to move forward and see our loved ones again.
Blessings to you and enjoy your holiday’s. Those who we are missing are always in our hearts.