Merry Christmas! I know, we just flipped the calendar to December, but I couldn’t wait to extend to you this greeting. We made it to December, friend! That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?? Today we find ourselves near the beginning of this holiday season (whether we’re ready or not), and just like most everything else this year, Christmas 2020 may be a bit different, too. This season is proving already unique, so it may be a different kind of Christmas. Time will tell, but I’m bracing myself for that reality.
Let’s talk about that today.
What a year we’ve walked through, huh? What a year it’s been! I’m guessing your story of 2020 is a bit like mine with this pandemic. I wasn’t prepared for it in any shape or form… physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. I’ve experienced great lows and also some wonderful highs. I’ve walked through a mix of loss, pain, joy, and elation. Interestingly, it looks here like I’m describing any prior year. A year complete with the good and the bad.
But I’m guessing you agree with me, this year has been exceptionally challenging. Not to mention all the other things we’ve experienced in 2020. A heartland derecho, wildfires, hurricanes, social and racial injustice, an ugly election, division in our land. It’s all been a bit much.
Maybe that’s why I believe even if Christmas in 2020 is different, it’ll still be special.
Because we could all use a shot of hope right now. We could all benefit from some joy today. Well, wouldn’t you know, Christmas brings both! Christmas also brings peace, comfort, calm, blessing, and love. This world–and your life and mine–is in desperate need of all of these. Today.
I’m not referring to the Christmas that’s about hustling and bustling. Not the Christmas that’s filled with shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, and gathering together, either. (Even those are fun and great things!) I’m not even talking about anything we do or don’t do, or how we feel or don’t feel, or anything really that has to to with you and me.
The Christmas I’m inferring is about a baby born in a manger. Where angels announced His arrival to the shepherds in the fields. Where the star in the sky indicated Immanuel was with us. And where the Savior of the world brought the hope of eternal life with Him to earth.
This kind of Christmas has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Jesus.
Sure, this may be a different kind of Christmas for us because of this pandemic, but the reason for this season hasn’t changed. It’s still about celebrating our Savior’s birth.
Even Dictionary.com says so. Christmas: the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus: celebrated on December 25 and now generally observed as a legal holiday and, for many, an occasion for exchanging gifts.
Yes, it’s difficult to think about altering traditions, or not gathering in person for Christmas Eve candlelight service, or sharing Christmas morning with loved ones. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to ponder the potential reality of foregoing how we’ve celebrated Christmas in the past. Quite frankly, I don’t like the idea of a different kind of Christmas. I want the kind of Christmas I’ve always had. Thank you very much.
But, God reminded me this morning Christmas really isn’t about what I want. I can still celebrate Jesus’ birth, even if it may be in different ways this year. God, change my heart. Help me glorify Jesus this Christmas and not my traditions. Equip me to be open to a different kind of Christmas this year.
A different kind of Christmas is still Christmas, nonetheless.
I pray life will be a bit more “normal” (whatever “normal” is) in a few weeks, but at this very moment, it doesn’t appear to be so. I can be sad, I can shed a few tears, and I can even pout. (I’m pretty good at that, unfortunately.) But the thing is, I don’t want to miss this season. I don’t want to wake up on Christmas morning realizing I missed it all. Actually, I don’t want to miss one thing God has for me while I’m too busy pouting. It’s okay to grieve, yes. And then to turn my focus to the heart of Christmas. Jesus.
I want to celebrate Jesus’ birth in beautiful ways. Maybe even in different ways, if necessary. Friend, how do you plan to celebrate Jesus’ birth this year? How will you embrace a possible different kind of Christmas? I’d love to read your ideas, your plans, your thoughts. I’d love to read your suggestions below.
Merry Christmas, friend. Who knows? A different kind of Christmas may be the most special kind of Christmas of all.
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Thank you. I needed to read this. Sometimes our pastor gives a reflective question for interactive conversation during zoom sermon time. He sent this Tuesday: “Thoughts for sharing on Sunday.
How has the journey of 2020 affected your anticipation/reflection/celebration of the Christmas season?
What does it mean to you this year in light of those thoughts?
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.”
And I don’t have anything good to say. It feels heavy and negative. I’d come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be sharing. This has helped turn thoughts and to think a bit differently.
Hi Kim! I certainly understand the heavy and negative. I CONSTANTLY have to fight against that and “flip the script” in my brain. It’s so difficult, isn’t it? I appreciate how your pastor extends this kind of question after the sermon. Thanks for sharing it here. I’m praying for you this Christmas season, friend. May God meet you in surprising ways as you anticipate Jesus’ birth.