Image courtesy of Idea go / freedigitalphotos
We all know what today is. It’s Christmas Eve, the day before we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ as God Incarnate, and tonight is when Santa Claus comes. In some households, the festivities begin today with Christmas pageants, dinners, the opening of a single gift or other traditions as many families split the holiday among more than one location. For others it is the last mad dash of preparation spent shopping, wrapping, cooking, traveling, or some hectic combination thereof.
Today is also my birthday. Yes, in the midst of all the other hubbub of Christmas Eve, I had the nerve to come wailing into the world some x-number of decades ago. In fact, I grew up with the story of that inconvenience told again and again each year -- as the youngest of four, it threw a real kink into the rest of the family’s plans – and combined it with other experiences growing up to come to the conclusion that I was not wanted.
Each of us has the potential to pull something out of our experiences or circumstances and point to it as evidence of God’s grace uniquely and unconditionally given to each of us. It may be a special talent or simply the miracle that we are here. As I reflect on my life I see a pretty direct correlation, regardless whether the actual circumstances were positive or negative, between how dark or bright certain periods were and my degree of closeness to God. The brightest times have been when I “walked with God,” looking for His love in other people and gratefully noticing more of His blessings, even if the circumstances were quite challenging. The darkest times have been when I tried to go it alone, working harder and faster to fix whatever needed fixing until I finally burned myself out, surrendered and turned back to Him. His presence is constant; mine is what waxes and wanes.
Isn’t that what each of us really wants for Christmas, and isn’t that why God sent Jesus in the first place?