When Christmas Just Won’t Be the Same
by Diane Stortz
Christmas might look, well . . . different this year.
Maybe you’re staying home rather than traveling to be with friends or relatives this December 25. Or maybe they’re staying home and you’ll be alone. Either way, you could be thinking, This is not how Christmas is supposed to be.
Your traditional Christmas Eve service might not take place this year, or maybe you’ll watch it online. Your child’s annual Christmas program, the choir concerts you usually attend . . . nope. Cancelled.
This year the main living areas of my house are all torn up, undergoing renovations. We’ll get out the nativity my husband built, but few other decorations. There’s no place to put them.
Long ago I wrote an article titled “What to Do When You Can’t Go Home for Christmas.” Years of living far from my parents and siblings had taught me a few things about successfully navigating untraditional Christmases.
Then my husband and I became POMs—parents of missionaries: our newly married young daughter and our son-in-law. More lessons about celebrating Christmas when you’re separated from loved ones by oceans and cultures.
Maybe you’ve experienced painful loss this year—a loved one’s passing, the end of a career, a sudden health crisis, the dying of a fought-for dream.
Whatever isn’t right about Christmas for you this year, may I encourage you to find a way to celebrate the Savior’s birth anyway?
Christmas is not, after all, primarily about family warmth and togetherness.
No. Christmas is the moment when we hear shepherds report an angel’s tidings of great joy. When we listen as aged prophets speak blessings over a baby. When we watch aristocratic wise men spill costly gifts at a toddler’s feet as they fall down to worship Him.
Christmas is any time we stop to “ponder all these things,” like Mary, in our hearts—wherever we are and whomever we’re with.
Mary and Joseph were far from home, you know, on that very first Christmas Day.
And Jesus, our Redeemer—the King of kings wrapped in swaddling clothes? Well, He was a long way from His home too.
Diane Stortz writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her newest books include Encountering God’s Heart for You: 365 Devotions from Genesis through Revelation. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five young grandchildren—all boys! You can find her at www.DianeStortz.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/diane.stortz.books/, and Instagram @diane.stortz