Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Gift of a Son (Times Three)

The Christmas tree had come down a day or two earlier, and as I puttered around the living room, putting the rest of the holiday decorations away, I noticed a ring on the carpet in the corner where the tree had stood, the imprint of the circular tree stand that held it upright for weeks on end.

I paused in my busyness for a minute and thought about the wonder of the days just past, how perhaps this holiday season had been the very best ever, made more magical by the presence of all three of my sons who in the past year had each moved into living spaces apart from the home they grew up in. To have them together under one roof for each of the Big Three Days (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s) with my husband and me was better than anything we could have found under the tree.

It didn’t happen by chance. Schedules had to be arranged in advance, travel plans made and adjusted as situations changed, and time set apart from other pursuits that demanded attention during that span of several weeks. There were cramped quarters on airplanes, long hours behind the wheel, and living spaces rearranged as the brothers accompanied each other on different travel legs and opened the doors of their living quarters to house siblings in town temporarily…all so we could all be together again.

Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t relate to the many people who said they couldn’t wait for the season to be over as they rushed through my line in the grocery store and on to the next place they needed to be. Perhaps they had no people in their lives to make the day special, I reflected. Surely that was the case with one elderly friend who told me that her children lived in a distant state and so for her Christmas was a day like any other. But others had somehow mistakenly made the holiday itself more special than the people they were celebrating with, focusing more on the unimportant details of what was on the dinner table and under the tree than the family that would be clustered around both.

Christmas is a celebration of family. The birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph was God’s  gift to all His children who were or are spiritually far away from Home. The gift of His Son was His means of bringing us all back together again eventually, and that ensuing Hope is the means with which we cope with the difficult days in our lives until their end. Instead of rushing through the holidays we should soak in that time which reminds us of how to get through the rest of the year.

Likewise Christ’s birth didn’t happen by chance, foretold as it was by prophets in centuries past and then every detail orchestrated by heavenly hosts who directed the key players in God’s plan for mankind’s redemption; a plan which included tiresome travel and difficult days on the back of a donkey, birthing places arranged in a crowded town when a stable door was opened at last, and long hours of laboring alone in the pain and the dark and cold…all so we could one day be together again.

Surely the circular imprint on the carpet will soon fade, so I’m glad that to keep the memory of those magical days alive we took a family picture just before we all split up to go our separate ways. I look at the photo now and smile, remembering the laughter of the procedure and the joy of the days just past. And I‘m able to head in to January and the rest of the year with my heart lighter and my thoughts brighter, just from the time we had together.

Thankfully we don‘t have to wait till next December to remember that God‘s Gift does the same for us, nor do we have to wait till the holidays come round again to spend time with Him Who loved us enough to give us His Best. Neither do we have to wait another minute to give our best right back to Him. Let’s hold Christmas close in our hearts all year long, so the wonder of God’s special Gift will never fade, but rather grow more precious, day after day after day.

“For to us a Child is born; to us a Son is given…”
(Isaiah 9:6 MKJV)

“Til The Season Comes ‘Round Again
By Amy Grant

Come and gather around at the table
In the spirit of family and friends
And we’ll all join hands and remember this moment
‘Til the season comes ‘round again

Let’s all try to smile for the picture
And we’ll hold it as long as we can
May it carry us through
Should we ever get lonely
‘Til the season comes ‘round again

One night holy and bright
Shining with love from our hearts
By a warm fire,
Let’s lift our heads high
And be thankful we’re here
‘Til this time next year

May the new year be blessed
With good tidings
‘Til the next time I see you again
If we must say goodbye
Let the spirit go with you
And we’ll love and we’ll laugh
In the time that we had
‘Til the season comes ‘round again

1 comment:

  1. What an absolutely lovely post and a beautiful family!! I'm so grateful for your relfections on the holiday season and the reminder to slow down and enjoy. To keep the focus on our Savior!

    Thank you, Elaine!!! You are just joy!!
    Much love!


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