Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Everyday Christmas and Thanksgiving

It's 11 p.m. Dec. 10, and I have done nothing to prepare for Christmas. When Dec. 25 falls on a Wednesday, it's harder for the extended family to make plans to be together. Will it be the weekend before or the weekend after? No one has extended an invitation or declared intentions for a family gathering. The best I can tell, there is a sense that my siblings and our mom may not all be together at the same time this year.

It will be different with my husband's family, too. In recent years, we've spent a day and sometimes overnight celebrating with his sister, but this year she is going to spend the holiday with her son in California, rather than him coming to her house in Texas. I've actually volunteered to work on Christmas Day, so those with children and families close by in Oklahoma can spend time together on the holiday.

Will it even seem like Christmas? Or will it seem more like Thanksgiving, which for me in my adult life working at a daily newspaper has generally meant just having Thursday off, and sometimes not even that, which makes it hard to be with family in other cities and states.

But Christmas and Thanksgiving aren't just about dates on a calendar or even about large celebrations with family. They are a spirit and a commitment and an expression of love in action. They are gratitude to God for daily blessings and the gift of His beloved Son, Whom He sent into the world as a baby, God in human flesh, to grow and live and love and provide an example, and then to die on a cross as a young man, but to rise from the grave three days later, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life in a relationship with our Heavenly Father.

I may have done nothing to prepare in terms of decorating or shopping -- or even scheduling gatherings on a calendar -- but I am praying for an open heart to receive God's gifts of Christmas each day, and to respond with gifts of gratitude in loving service to others, in His name.

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