If you know me well, you know that I have six siblings: Christie, Ron, Annette, Tim, Joy, and Karen. Six of us are married and have at least two children. The grand total of people in my family is 33 and includes my mom, dad, siblings, spouses and children!! We get together at least once a year. Thirty-three people under one roof. It is loud, there are children running around everywhere, we eat tons of food and we generate tons of dirty dishes and trash. After a few hours together, we long for a quiet place to escape, but so many of us drove long distances to be together and don’t dare retreat for fear of missing out on precious family time.
We get together every other Christmas and 2020 was our year. In early December, two siblings decided to skip the gathering due to COVID, and then another and another followed suit. Our planned gathering kept getting smaller and smaller. Then one of my sisters got sick the week of Christmas and her attendance was questionable. It seemed like we were dropping like flies.
I found myself thinking that it would be okay. I had my immediate nuclear family with me, and I was excited about what I had bought everyone. And then the Lord convicted my heart. What if I didn’t have them either? Would it still be a Merry Christmas? Do you remember the story about Job? He had everything stripped away from him including his wealth, his health, and his family. What was left? God.
God was still God. I had to remind myself that even if I had nothing on Christmas, no family, poor health or no roof over my head, it would still be Jesus’ birthday. It would still be a merry Christmas! Jesus - the one who came to earth as a baby, the one who lived a sinless life, the one who died a sinner’s death, the one who rose from the dead and conquered sin once and for all and the one who offers us eternal life in heaven – THAT is what we celebrate!
I know comparing myself to Job is quite a stretch because I didn’t lose nearly as much as he did. But God loves me and his heart breaks when my heart breaks. I’m not going to lie. Celebrations are more fun with family and food and good health, but Christmas is still Christmas without those things because God is still God and God is good. Happy New Year!