Winter preparations for Christmas

christmas wreath

I listen to WGBL on my way to work and the day after Thanksgiving, they begin playing Christmas music. Recently I heard a song by Matt Brouwer and I had to call in and ask for the name because it struck a chord with me – it was “Better Days.” Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

“And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe
We’ll find better days

‘Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in string
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe
We’ll find better days

Refrain: So take these words
And sing out loud
Can everyone
Be forgiven now?

‘Cause tonight’s the night
The world begins again. …

There was one poor child who saved this world
And there’s ten million more who fight to live
Can we just stop
And say a pray for them?

Refrain…”

(www.songlyrics.com)

This song resonates in my heart this Advent/Christmas season. First, it reminds me of the true reason for the season – Christ’s birth. I want to buy less and give more. How can I give more to the people I love and care about without expressing my feelings, necessarily, with money? “Every good gift and every perfect give is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change,” James 1:17.

Be honest, how many Christmas gifts do you remember?

I remember being with family (my own and my husband’s). I remember spending time with Joe’s mom and dad, and witnessing their joy at having everyone gathered together. From the moment their front doors open to us, they are “in service” – whether it’s getting someone a drink or ensuring that everyone gets plenty of food. They give of their time, talent and treasure and wish only that their children, and grandchildren, with differing personalities, careers, blessings and challenges, share a meal and conversation, without argument or judgment. The word “reconciliation” comes to mind, and how important that must be to God for his children. I am sad that we can’t be together this year but know that we are in each others hearts for the holidays.

I think of my great nephews who were babies, first crawling and, at this Thanksgiving, were talking and hugging (instead of crying). Their “personalities” are distinct and oh, so, cute. I remember my sister-in-law’s tasty cooking and the fact that my brother requested that I make my Grandma’s recipe for coleslaw, although it’s not very popular because his side of the family does not like tomatoes. However, it’s tradition and familiar and comforting.

“We’ll find better days,” says the song.

I think those precious moments are always around us. It’s whether we choose to acknowledge and appreciate them. Those times with people we care for and love rather than gifts, trappings and pretenses. We remember the people in our lives and how they made us feel rather than the gifts we received.

“‘Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again.”

Mom and Matt
My mom, with Matthew, her grandson, during her last
Christmas with our family in 2009.

This is a reminder that Christ was born thousands of years ago but He lives daily in each one of us. He’s a personal God who knows what’s best for us but who balances that with what we ask of Him.

Each year, Christmas is a time to remember that we matter to others. We may come into each others lives for a moment, a decade, or a lifetime but we help refine each other. We can make a difference. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t acknowledge that until it’s too late – until someone we love has died from cancer, or passed away suddenly.

I’ve worked for Fortune 1000 companies and made big bucks! And, what I was asked to do didn’t amount to a hill of beans when it came to world hunger, or peace or even assist in feeding people in my own community. I now work for a non-profit for a fair wage that helps women effect positive change in small but effective ways. Which is going to mean more to God? I pray and hope that it’s the latter.

We can, truly, begin again each Christmas, as we let the love and light of Jesus breathe new life into our work, homes, ministry and world. Gifts are great at Christmas if given in the spirit of love and are accompanied by a warm hug and confidence from the giver. Let’s not let another Christmas go by without letting those around us know they are loved and valued. That’s one of Christ’s greatest gifts to us!

Comments

  1. Reply

    What a lovely essay, Diane. And I think it's wonderful that you do a job that's meaningful to you even if it doesn't pay big money. I'm touched at the photo of your mom. I'm still missing my mother so much after two years, and especially at Christmas time. Reading this made my day!

  2. Reply

    Thanks for your kind comment, ElaineLK. I miss my mom too so I know how you feel. Hope you have a happy holiday season!

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