Growing up as an only child, I was incredibly blessed. I had the opportunity to experience many things I’m not sure I would have been able to if I had siblings.
Every Christmas, I received most everything I asked for, and then some.
But very little compared to the atmosphere of warmth and magic my parents – especially my mother – created in our home.
A glowing tree that could be seen from whatever street we lived on, the scent of Cornish hens and pound cake wafting into every room.
My mother also often made our Christmas decorations, which looked as nice as any store purchase – if not nicer!
Unfortunately, for the last few years, we’ve not decorated for Christmas. Between the confusion that the sudden appearance of a Christmas tree might cause for my mother, and the sheer exhaustion I experience as her caregiver, it just hasn’t seemed worth the trouble.
As I pass our neighbors’ decorated doorways in our condominium hall, I’ve worried occasionally that our neighbors wouldn’t know we are Christians, with no wreath on our door or lit tree visible from our deck’s window.
But then I am reminded of a verse of Scripture that says:
By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.– John 13:35
We have developed relationships with a few of our neighbors and they know they can call on us if they need anything. We spread love and kindness wherever and however we can. It is the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the blessings of God that compel us toward these loving relationships, even when times are challenging for us.
This Christmas, though there’s no poundcake or sparkly lights I so fondly remember, I am challenged to consider just why we celebrate this holiday. But I know I’m not alone in my pondering, as many people around the world experience altered Christmas celebrations due to COVID, natural disasters, and other extenuating circumstances.
I celebrate this holiday as a reminder that I am not alone in this world and that there is hope at the end of the longest, darkest tunnels.
Whatever your faith, I pray that you have people in your life who show you unconditional love and that you can take this time to reflect on the blessings and good people you have in your life.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!