Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Monday, December 12
By Judy Grubb
Christmas and Traditions
Read: Luke 2:10
“…but the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people’.”
Christmas 2020 may be the saddest Christmas I have ever observed. You’ll remember that we were smack in the middle of the Covid 19 Pandemic. My husband and I had chosen not to have any family get together due to the fear of transmitting the virus. I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to decorate. I did go with a downsized tree and fewer decorations than I usually display around the house. I didn’t have purple candles, so I used red ones to create the Advent wreath, and we put it out every Sunday. I also displayed one of my favorite Nativity sets. So…we were having Christmas.
When I think back on all this, I realize that I was tweaking my Traditions of Christmas. I realize that everybody has traditions, and they’re all different. Many of my Christmas treasures have very special memories: where I got them, who gave them to me, how old they are. The origin of all those memories are rooted in the story of a baby born in a stable in Bethlehem. As we know, there are different theories about this child and his birth, but for me I wouldn’t stop the celebration for anything. It is the source of my Traditions that include special times with my children and grandchildren, the joy of the preparation, and the hope that I have in life.
It was a tough time up to the few days before Christmas that year. I felt like I was just going through the motions. How could we make this a real Christmas? Then about 4:00 P.M. on Christmas Eve it began to snow. We ended up with the prettiest snowfall and white Christmas in years. It was like a gift to cheer us up. (Apologies to those who got stuck in the traffic.) We watched the most beautiful Christmas Eve service on YouTube.
On Christmas Day, we talked on FaceTime to our 3 children and our grandchildren. We didn’t have gifts to open, but we didn’t notice. One of our sons left gifts for us on the front porch a few days later. Remember the awful mail delay? We’ve laughed about the 14 day delay of gifts from our daughter.
That year we learned that Jesus really is the reason for the season. We made every effort to celebrate his birth even though we observed some traditions in a different way, and some just didn’t happen. Life was different and out of kilter, but in 2021 we got back to all the traditions, and the story of Jesus was still there, and so was the hope.
Dear God, May we remember that there are many ways to celebrate the great gift that you gave us, your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for loving us and bringing us hope. Amen.