We celebrated Christmas early because Nurse Daughter #4 is working today. Her family lives only a few miles away, but we love it that they came and stayed overnight with Jake and me and Daughter #1. (She is here from Canada.)
It was a sweet feast in many ways: time together and traditional foods and gifts and games and crafts and hugs and smiles.
Just so you know, also impatience and fights and tears and one accident requiring an emergency run to the doctor. Fortunately Little Guy’s cut lip didn’t need stitches.
I am grateful for the new Christmas memories and the vibrant photos that captured the joy we felt.
But early last night on Christmas Eve Little Pookie sat on the rug by the front door putting on her shoes to go home, and her quiet question sent an arrow of sadness to my heart. “Gramma, is Christmas over?”
Yes, Christmas is over and it is sad. I thought, and almost started to cry when they drove off.
Something like regret, a sharp pain of grief seeped into my soul. I wish I’d done _______. I wish I hadn’t done _______. I wish I’d focused more on ________ and been more __________.
And most of all, I wish I’d given Little Pookie a good, a hopeful, a comforting answer.
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Christmas Eve evening was quiet. We watched our church service online, then an old Christmas movie, and went to bed late. No visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.
But before I went to sleep I read a magazine article* about how no one can take Christ out of Christmas. Those who complain about Christmas being too secular need to remember that we are free to make it as true and spiritual as we want.
Christmas is all about Jesus. Remembering that we love Him because He first loved us. I John 4:19. Remembering that we give gifts because He first gave to us. John 3:16. Remembering that we serve others because He first served us. Luke 22:27b. And remembering that we live because He came into our world with grace and truth to give us salvation and life. John 1.
Christmas is about remembering all that and adoring Jesus for it all.
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The night of our family feast sleepover was the night of the outdoor Candlelight Service. We loved sitting together on the shore of our neighborhood Lake Susan, watching the sunset, singing the carols, listening to the Scriptures, and passing the light around the whole lake.
Just like our Christmas sleepover, that service was over too quick. We didn’t want to leave. But we carried our candles lit, walking up our Greybeard street in the dark night, singing loudly, Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
And so we will keep walking, holding up the Christlight, remembering: Jesus came and He is with us. And knowing: Someday we will all live together with Him and the sharp pains of regret and grief, our sins of impatience and fighting, and suffering from accidents will all be gone.
I hope that someday I can help Little Pookie understand our hope. I want her to know that for believers, Christmas is never over. We celebrate and adore Jesus all year long.
*’No One Took Christ Out of Christmas’ by Thomas Larsen, CT, Dec 2021.