In 2018, the four of us celebrated the Savior’s birth with our church family in Anchorage on Christmas Eve and Day.
Both my husband and I have lived in different parts of the world for the past 20 years. We have celebrated holidays with our parents and/or sibilings a handful of times in the past decade. We cherish the moments of family video chats and phone calls to exchange greetings and updates. Now that we are stateside, text messages filled with photos are added to the list.
Our first Christmas in Alaska was different in many ways. The biggest change: a white Christmas. We loved our Christmas cacti and lights afixed to our desert of rocks, but something about sparkling snow makes things a bit brighter. Our little ones enjoy as many flakes as they can catch on their tongue or stick together in a snowball. The rest are left for snow angels and sledding. Daddy’s schedule changed and responsbilities increased while serving as associate pastor of our new congregation in both English and Spanish. Many hours were spent in prepararation, participation and reflection of special worship services and events. The need to wear warm clothes including long sleeves, tights and socks for indoors and jackets, hats and gloves for the outdoors. No more sandals.
Some things were missing: our Christmas tree and ornament collection, our framed Bible passages and hymns hung throughout the house, our advent calendars, our holiday dishes and bakeware (no baking our own Christmas cookies), our stockings, our Christmas media and our collection of nativity sets from around the world. These are only earthly items, but they are family traditions that are part of our celebration of the Christchild’s birth!
The challenges or excuses were there to have just gone through the motions of this glorious holiday with happy faces covering up empty inside spaces. Instead, we focused on the true reason of this miraculous season, the birth of Jesus who was true man and true God. This good news filled our hearts with endless joy both inside and out! We read the Bible stories. We lit the candles. We sang our favorite hymns. We reflected on the countless blessings God has showered upon us. We gave thanks for the people, places and things the Lord has put in our life.
Most importantly, we treasure the little baby born in Bethlehem, died on Calvary, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven for us!
Take time to read Luke chapter 2 tonight.