Daily Reflections From My Window

December 24, 2021 Advent Day 24: Christmas Eve

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“Christmas Eve ought to be a very joyful evening to us in all its associations, in all the truths which it naturally brings to the soul…. A man’s soul is to be as the heavens were on the night when the shepherds looked up and saw them full of angels as well as stars.”

Henry Ward Beecher

The stars have been amazing the last few nights haven’t they? Even with the ambient light, we can still see them. I had a few things to do in Richland late yesterday afternoon and caught the sunset from high up on the hill near Staples. Wow! Then again as I headed home. Another wow. This Christmas season has been so different for so many of us and I know that the world situation has a lot to do with it. Bad news every day seems to reign. I’m not feeling the general hustle and bustle when I DO go shopping. I get what I need and that’s it. No fluff.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend, and she shared that three generations of her family have lived through all three floods in Johnstown. Her Mother’s grandfather through the 1889 flood, her mother through the 1936 flood, and she herself through the 1977 flood. “God must have really wanted your family here. You are all survivors! He has a purpose for you!” How did she reply? “Well, it makes those of us who have generational roots here think, ‘What’s the point in starting or building anything here in town? Someone, or something, will just come through when you do and take it, or wash it away.'” It was an interesting and incredibly depressing outlook about why this town can’t get past being called the Flood City. We need to. If it proves anything, it proved to me that the people are survivors and scrappy as all heck. Self reliant and resilient. Not just trudging through life expecting to be washed away. The people I’ve met here are full of hope for the future and trying, despite the obstacles to make it happen. But then, I’m not a native and have only been here for a little over 30 years. What about the obstacles our sweet young Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph faced that very first Christmas? I’m looking at this season for me like that. I haven’t participated in the hustle and bustle much. I haven’t even seen “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “the Grinch” yet. I’ve participated in a few Holiday gatherings and have come away thinking, what’s this all about? It’s almost like God is testing my faith. Is it all about the fluff? Can Christmas come despite my lack of “feeling it”? Can it come hearing on the news one day that the President says that you CAN celebrate Christmas and the next, you can’t. Like he can control it. God controls it. Of course it will come. I look at my Nativity sets and it does remind me of the challenges our young sweet Virgin mother and her husband faced. Riding to who knows where on a donkey only to find that they’d be put up in a stable. Every Christmas Eve I go to our little barn and am in awe of that fact. I’ll share that lovely sight tomorrow. As we run around with masks and wipes and hand sanitizers, that young mom faced less than sterile conditions to give birth to no less than the Savior. How could she know what they were in for? She just trusted God. Without having watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

Today, I’ll wrap the meager presents I have for my family and we’ll go to church. I even have a “maybe I’ll go” from the mask protester to come with us. I’m still shaking my head about the mask mandate in our church. I get it. I get that we have a lot of elderly folks and we WANT to keep them safe. I wear my mask. I’m tired of the devil weaseling in on things and won’t let him win so I wear my mask because I NEED to be in church. I believe God will keep us safer and our beautiful church service should be a place of peace and comfort for all of us. I’m not sure if the masks are keeping people away or if it’s the state of the state. All I know is that there are few if any children anymore-ironic that God sent a baby and then that baby grew up and taught is through children. I’m just thrilled that mine are coming tonight! Take THAT devil!

What are your traditions? Do you do a huge fish dinner for Christmas Eve? Do you gather the whole family and go to church? Do you meet at our lovely tree in downtown Johnstown for a dose of caroling? Are you headed to an airport? Hopping in the car to visit family far away?

Whatever you do, be safe, drive carefully, and pack your patience.

Tomorrow we’ll head to my niece’s for our annual Christmas celebration and “egg nog taste off”. It’s a crazy and fun tradition that was started by my family to overcome an obstacle. I’ll share that story, maybe tomorrow. We just MIGHT have a little bit of flood survivor grit in this family-native or not.

Let’s not forget despite all of the sadness and loss that we’ve faced this year that there are miracles. Pray for my friend Edyce, who lost her husband John, the love of her life to cancer, and has two beautiful daughters, their husbands and 2 sweet grandchildren to help her through such a difficult time. God is there. She just had to have knee surgery to top it off. I love her. She’s like a sister to me but I haven’t been able to be there much for her physically because of my lack of shots. I have been tested and have the antibodies and had Covid over a year ago. My doc recommends no shots for me. Her doc recommends hanging out with people who have shots.

Then there’s my friend Tammy. 15 years ago she donated one of her kidneys to her brother Tim and now their brother Jim has donated one of his kidneys to Tim. Without question, this family gives more to each other at the drop of a hat. The surgery took place yesterday and Tammy texted to tell me that both brothers were in recovery. May they continue to heal without challenges. 🙏🏻🙏🏻.

There are so many more good things happening in the world. All because God so loved us that He sent his only Son to die for us and our sins. Unfathomable love. We are forgiven. Just because. Now the day awaits. The grand dog is here and the kids have headed to the coffee shop. H. Wonder Coffee and Records is open from 9-3 today. I need a good cup of coffee! My boss is looking for me. In the meantime, do something you’ve never done before. Find your passion and explore it. Every single day is a gift. I’m off to tend my passion.

Have a blessed day!