As I type this, Christmas is over. I’m finally starting to feel better (can I get an Amen?). It’s storming tonight all over parts of the Southeast – the kind of storms that generate tornadoes. No one wants to face a tornado on Christmas Day.
I can hear it raining from where I sit. I love the rain and even thunderstorms, but not “outbreaks” or “severe weather threats.” I hope it’s not as bad as they are predicting because there are people I love scattered all over the South and I worry about them.
This seems unusual weather for December – for Christmas. But then, this Christmas was unusual for a lot of us. Some of my family spent the better part of the past two weeks, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and are facing more days in the hospital dealing with a serious health crisis. A friend spent Christmas and the days leading up to it in the hospital with her mother who has cancer and virtually no white cells to fight the infection she currently has.
Some had to celebrate Christmas early or will celebrate it late due to family conflicts. People travel hours to spend what feels like minutes with those they love. No one can be in two places at once and in order to accommodate as many people as possible, changes have to be made. Change can be tough to swallow, but as my friend showed, when embraced, change can be just as good as the original plan.
In retail, our Christmases involve some serious quality time spent in malls before and after Christmas Day. Long hours, large crowds, traffic jams gallore, and slightly cranky shoppers can suck the Spirit out of the holiday if we allow it.
We had Christmas with Barry’s girls this morning and then went to work getting ready for tomorrow – the day after Christmas which has grown into a big shopping day for retail businesses. Our eating on Christmas was both wonderful, eh, and startling at the same time. For breakfast, Barry’s mom fixed a big “Nanny’s breakfast” (wonderful) before we opened gifts with the girls. For lunch, out of desperation, we ate at what I will allow to remain nameless fast food establishment (eh). It was my first, and I feel my last visit there. For dinner, we actually found several nice restaurants open for dinner only and shared a huge plate of nachos. They were delicious, but a little on the spicy side (startling); I’m pretty certain my lips actually chapped while I was eating! :)
I say ALL of this to say – is there anything traditional about Christmas anymore or has it evolved into “whatever works” for your family at the time? I’m thinking more and more people have to do the whatever works kind of Christmas. The keys are flexibility, faith, and fortune.
In order to survive holidays like this, you have to be flexible and enjoy whatever time you have with family whenever you can get it. Maybe it’s Christmas Eve or the weekend after or even in January. The day is not important. The people and spirit of the gathering is.
We have to keep faith at the forefront of our holiday. There really is no reason to even buy gifts, cook a meal, and get together with family or friends without the faith to believe that God sent His son to us as a baby in order to save us. Faith is key.
And no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, we have to remember how fortunate we are. If you have one person who loves you and whom you love, if you have food to eat and maybe the smallest of gifts under your tree (if you even bothered to put one up!), if you have a job that requires you work on Christmas – all of these are signs of good fortune, blessings, and things for which we should be grateful.