In his first message of the Christmas series, Dr. Lincoln commented that Simeon (Luke 2) “recognized the eternal in the now.” With Christmas just days away, I’ve been remembering a certain Christmas Eve a few years ago where I experienced just such a moment.
Like many of you, I love occasions of celebration, cherished moments and making lasting memories. I must also confess that at times I get so caught up in what I’m expecting those moments to be like that any diversion from my ideal can play havoc with my emotions! This particular Christmas Eve nearly made me miss what has since become a treasured holiday memory.
...little by little, my perfect holiday began to unravel.
A few years ago, we were staying home for Christmas and my in-laws were visiting with us. I was so excited to have the whole family together, but on the “afternoon before Christmas,” little by little, my perfect holiday began to unravel. My mother-in-law fell ill so she and my father-in-law decided to stay home from the Christmas Eve service. The rest of us (my husband, Ken, and our two boys) had problems trying to leave the house and arrived to church late, which turned out not to matter since the small church we were attending at the time was having technical difficulties of their own. Shortly after the service finally began, I realized there was a problem with my youngest son, Kyle, and I had to carry him out to the parking lot...only to discover I didn't have the car keys. While our oldest son, Kendall (age 9 at the time), remained in the service, Ken came to my rescue. Things continued to be very--let's just call it "eventful," but we finally made it back into the sanctuary.
As the three of us rejoined Kendall just in time to sing the last song before the candle lighting I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We had missed communion and pretty much everything else I look forward to. I let out a big sigh and I wondered why we had even bothered to come. My perfect Christmas Eve was ruined.
My 'holy left-overs" reminded me why we were there…and what Christmas is 'really all about. Not a perfect family holiday, but 'a Savior...born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'
And then, my personal pity party was interrupted by a gentle nudge on my arm. I looked down to see Kendall open his little hand to reveal two wafers nestled in his palm. Our son had saved his dad and me "left-overs" from the Lord’s Supper. Can you envision the knife to the heart? I sat down, prayed, and partook in what may be the most memorable communion I’ve experienced. My "holy left-overs" reminded me why we were there…and what Christmas is really all about. Not a perfect family holiday, but “a Savior...born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
As I continue to immerse myself in the decorating, traditions, celebrations, and all that this glorious season holds, I am trying not to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. As things that have been, are, or ‘may come to be’ threaten to rob me of my spirit, I’ll stay focused on the One who was, is, and is to come!
May we always “recognize the eternal in the now.”