I know it’s Christmas Eve, and you’re too busy to be bothered with a lot of business dealings, marketing strategies, and other boo-hisss because you’d rather spend this time with family.
I don’t blame you.
I just wanted to share a quick little Christmas story to get you in the mood and invite you to revisit us after the holiday. We’ve got so much in store for the new year.
It was a snowy night in a place you probably don’t recognize, but the time was growing close to celebrate Christmas again…
The year before our Christmas had been unusual. Granddad passed on Christmas morning, so we spent the day preparing for family to gather, selecting songs for Granddad’s services, and holding Grandma’s hand. I was just a little girl, but the words to Blue Christmas had been replaying in my head for nearly a year, because it was a popular song…
A night shortly before Christmas, the family had come to our house to spend some time with Grandma a few days before Christmas. But stress was high, and nobody seemed in the Christmas mood. Harsh words, unrest, and the sadness of the previous Christmas was overwhelming to me… But there it was. Right on the surface. I don’t remember what sent me into flight that night night, but tears were streaming down my face, and I disappeared out the back door.
I remember hearing the voices fade as I walked across the back yard to the barn. The calves were in the barn, and I’d just filled their mangers with hay with new straw on the floor. There was a folded horse blanket on the old freezer we used to store grain, and I fitted it into the manger and curled up inside. I must have cried myself to sleep, because the next thing I remember was mom shaking me slightly to awaken me.
I don’t know if it had been hours, or minutes… But I remember finding peace in that manger, and rest… I don’t remember feeling cold, but I was dressed for chores.
Even when holidays are filled with peace and love, family gathers round, and life is blessed by the goodness and grace of God… Some feel sorrow, loneliness, and pain. The celebration can sometimes be too much. Those times… during the loneliest of days, remember to return to the manger.
Reach out for Jesus and let him hold you in his hand. Let him comfort you and keep you warm through the moments that just aren’t quite as easy as others.
Many Christmases have passed since that one. Grandma passed more than twenty years later in the middle of the summer, and Mom is gone home too.
I celebrate a far different kind of Christmas now, my own children gathered around. We anticipate Christmas for weeks. The grandchildren sharing lists of Christmas wishes, and each one setting plans to celebrate with in-laws, or at home… It doesn’t matter where we are on Christmas Eve, or Christmas day – we know the joy of the day comes from Jesus, a babe born in a manger.
Let the joy of Christmas bless your family, your day, and your life!