In less than a week we will celebrate Christmas, the 2019 version. There are elements which remain the same and some which change. The stable elements are celebrating the birth of Jesus, spending time with family, Christmas music, opening gifts from loved ones, and seeing the wonder of Christmas through the eyes of children.
What’s different this year? Last year my father was living independently and is now in skilled nursing care with congestive heart and dementia. In November my mother died of congestive heart failure. My wife and I moved from a house to a condo 90 miles north of where we lived as we plan at some point our retirement. In September my wife transferred to a new branch of her bank. It’s been a year with major changes, and according to some stress assessment tools we’ve had more than our share, but we are still celebrating the unchanging elements of Christmas.
Jesus’ birth is a reminder of God’s grace, love, and care for humanity. Many in our Post-Christian times tell us we are deluded into thinking that if there is a God that this God really cares for creation, including humanity. They no longer believe in a transcendent God who breaks into our world, but we choose to believe God is not only transcendent, but came as a human in Jesus to reconcile us to God, to one another, to ourselves, and to our natural world. During the Advent season one of the candles reminds us of hope, and it is hope which empowers us through the difficult days and reminds us of the blessings of life, now and into eternity.
How will you celebrate Christmas? We choose to celebrate with hope.