This year wasn't exactly a "traditional" Christmas. In fact, over the past few years, my family hasn't had one. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Holidays are incredibly stressful and things don't always work out the way you want them to during special days like this. Nonetheless, this simpler year reminded me of a lot of wonderful things that I might have missed or taken for granted any other year.
I cherish the time I was able to spend with my parents and brother. My mom and I had a great conversation together about family and loving each other in spite of our flaws. My dad and brother went for a nice walk down along the beach at night. It's rare to have moments like...so that may be my favorite memory this holiday.
I also met a certain someone's family this year during their holiday celebration. It was amazing to me to see his family come together and celebrate Christ's birth in such a different way from the way my extended family might. Both are good in their own ways, but I appreciated the focus on Jesus and having time to reflect upon the wonder of what He has done for us. I haven't done that very much lately and it was a good reminder for me.
Luke 2 - The Birth of Jesus
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Verse 10 is what captures my attention the most. "...I BRING YOU GOOD NEWS THAT WILL CAUSE GREAT JOY FOR ALL THE PEOPLE." Where else would such a statement occur. Good News for EVERYONE. I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and that the New Year will bring about a lot of joy, encouragement and peace in their lives. This life isn't easy...I know this from my experiences, but it's still good and I have hope that it will continue to get better.