If you want to know what my favorite time of year is all you really have to do stop by my house in December. The smell of cinnamon and cloves, a romantic Christmas movie on the screen, Michael Bublé playing in the background. I love it all.
When I was younger, I remember how people would say: “When you’re a child everything is idyllic, you don’t know much about real life, and of course, there are not many missing loved ones at the family table yet.” As I recall, Christmas has always been a special time for me. Even though it hasn’t always been perfect, there is a certain atmosphere at Christmas that I absolutely love.
I don’t remember spending many Christmases together as a family. My father and mother had separated when I was only two years old. Still, I don’t remember those being bad Christmases.
One Christmas, I must have been around four years old, we were coming back from having dinner at a relative’s house. When we got home, we discovered someone had broken into our house and stolen our gifts. I remember a feeling of uncertainty, but I don’t remember it being a bad Christmas.
Every Christmas we would have dinner at my uncle’s house. My mother was always late for dinner. I didn’t understand it at first, until finally I realized that she would work late that day to earn extra Christmas pay to be able to buy our last-minute gifts. When we opened gifts, it was almost never what I had asked for, and sometimes, what I had asked for would arrive a couple of years later. Still, I don’t remember those being bad Christmases.
There were totally positive Christmases as well, like my first Christmas married to my sweet husband, full of enthusiasm to be able to decorate and enjoy new traditions together, or my daughter’s first Christmas when she was an adorable two-month-old and I dressed her as a gift to take her picture by the tree.
And before those there was another very special Christmas. The first year we celebrated Christmas after my mother passed away. I was 21 years old, still looking forward to Christmas. A relative asked me how I could be happy when my mother had died. Was that a sad Christmas? The most. It was filled with grief, anguish, a pain that broke me into pieces, depression, and sadness. And yet, I don’t remember it being a bad Christmas.
Christmas is a reminder of hope, of a new beginning, and of life. Human beings are born, live, and die. Christmas is the announcement of the birth of Christ, who came to change everything and give us eternal life. The birth of Jesus is the prelude to other celebrations. We observe the pain and death of Easter, but with it comes the resurrection, with new and eternal life.
For me, Christmas is the beginning of each new year, a tangible demonstration of God’s promises. During Christmas we begin a new journey, a physical, emotional, and spiritual state, beginning in each area of our lives. It is that hope that made every Christmas, despite what it might have seemed, a good Christmas, because Christ was growing in me.
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him, —since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened—so that you can know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength. –Ephesians 1:17-19