This is the first Christmas where I found myself feeling very much alone. Of course, I wasn’t alone. I had my husband but it just was not the same. The reason it was not the same was that my whole family meaning, my kids, grandchild, and mom all were scattered. My daughter was with her new family, my son was working and my mom didn’t have transportation to get to my house.
Every year our tradition was for everyone to wear Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve, play board games, and in the morning we’d have a big breakfast consisting of pecan pancakes with whip cream and strawberries, scrambled eggs, biscuits, bacon, and sausage while we opened our stockings. My son is 24 years old and still wakes up at 6 am with the excitement of a young child. He cracks me up.
Our stockings would be full of funny but useful gifts. Everyone would make jokes and laugh while one of us video-taped the whole thing. After the ladies cleaned up the kitchen we would all sit in the living room while the youngest of us opened our gifts. After they’ve finished, they would bring the elders their gifts. We would all be thankful to God and to each other.
This year none of this happened. In fact, I was the only one up on Christmas Day and the only one having breakfast at the table while my husband slept. As I sat at the kitchen table and began saying grace instead of thanking God for my blessings, I found myself asking God for my family to be together on Christmas. At that very moment, nothing mattered, no gifts, no food, no cards, and no pajamas. The only thing I wanted for Christmas was to be surrounded by the laughter and love of my family.
Why has Christmas become a season for getting or just giving? I don’t ever think I can remember anyone particular material gift I’ve received in the past on Christmas. What I do remember is what I did with my family. This Christmas, I got my gift but I had to make a little effort and pray.
That morning I cooked a big meal and packed up the car with the food and gifts and drove to my mother’s house. My son came out of work at 6 pm and I had convinced my daughter to stop by with my grandson and thankfully, even my husband agreed to come with me. By 7 pm, we were all in my mother’s living room and the routine was pretty much the same. The young kids opened their gifts first and so on. It was the best Christmas ever because God gave me my gift.
So I challenge all Christians this year to stop thinking about yourself and every day when you get up ask the Lord to show you or reveal to you how you can bless one person that day. It could be as easy as just giving a compliment to someone working in fast food or retail-like “I just want you to know I appreciate what you do”. Can you imagine what kind of world we would have if everyone began blessing at least one person a day in some way?
They say Christmas is about giving. Yes, God gave Jesus to us on that day but most importantly, Jesus gave his life for us. So we should not only give on Christmas but on every day in some way in remembrance of what God gave us. Take the challenge, bless someone every day. It will change your life. God gave me my family on Christmas. This is the least I can do for him.