Merry Christmas from the Bolivar Peninsula

The big week is almost here, and for me, it is a big week indeed. My birthday is Dec. 23, and then we have the blessed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For those of us celebrating a different kind of Christmas this year for whatever reason, please let me assure you with confidence that God knows all about each of our Christmases and what we will have and what we will not have.

For some, precious loved ones will be missing. For others, children or grandchildren are in the service far from home and will not be joining us at the big feast around the table. Some are stuck at school and just cannot afford to travel. Some are home because of other obligations and shared families. My heart goes out to the countless young couples that are exhausted just trying to determine where they will go when. Some parents and grandparents are not thoughtful in demanding certain, exact times to be present for family gifts and food. One family I know demands attendance on Christmas Eve, Christmas noon, and Christmas night. That doesn’t leave much time for others or for visiting with family across town.

The young wife sharing this story with me was in tears and simply did not know what to do to avoid hurt feelings. The mother-in-law had gone so far as to say, “If you cannot arrange to be here with us, there will be no gifts for your family.” With no intent of stirring up conflict, each individual must set boundaries for their life and actions, and young families must do likewise. Talk it over and decide when you can and will go and then stick to your guns. It is sad to me to see kids of all ages receive gifts from Santa or parents and then quickly be jerked up to go from house to house for various gatherings.

Folks, let’s be kind and reasonable on this of all holidays. Share gifts, food and most importantly, perhaps, time.

In the opening paragraph, I mentioned that God knew our hearts and He knows what we feel we are facing this year. He knows that you did not feel like putting up a big tree, dragging out all of the decorations, or shopping. That is OK, too. Do what you can, but do not make yourself uncomfortable.

Some are literally ruining the holiday for themselves and those around them by grieving and lamenting that they are not financially able to purchase the kind or number of gifts they would want to give. Learn to share real love, compassion and caring and spread joy wherever and however you can. Make Christmas cards to share with those you love. Get creative and come up with attractive and personal work or sitting coupons such as free car washes, spring house cleaning, a night out on the town at a later date, yard work, sewing, cooking, letter writing, or any number of things you can do. Your gift does not have to come from an expensive store to be genuine.

Another thought seems important to me this year. If you want to establish new and different traditions, whether personal or family oriented, go for it. What better time than the present to do something exciting that you’ve always wanted to do? One young lady I know took her mom and cousin to New York City to share the holiday. If one wants to travel and is willing to brave the crush, go for it. Be creative. Who knows what you will discover? It could be one of the best Christmas seasons you’ve ever had.

Whatever you choose to do to celebrate, remember God loves us so much that He gave the greatest gift ever given when Jesus was born in that simple manger in Bethlehem long ago. Once you’ve accepted that glorious gift as your own, you will be surprised at how you feel about Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our faithful readers.