It doesn’t feel like Christmas.
I am sure many of you aren’t surprised to see me make this statement. Day 10 of who knows how many days in a hospital room, staring at my brand new daughter’s monitors, praying, willing for her oxygen levels to stop dropping doesn’t exactly spark the warm, Christmasy spirit I’m known for around this time of year.
It seems this year that I am not alone in my lack of “feeling” the Christmas cheer.
This year, as I scroll through my Facebook feed, I see an extraordinary amount of statuses expressing the same sentiment, that this year just doesn’t feel like Christmas. Some of these lamentations stem from the lack of snowy white flakes falling from the sky, or even a crisp winter chill in the air. Some stem from a deep hurt as a result of spending a first Christmas without a loved one. Some stem from a stressful pile of life’s problems that seem to stack on top of each other during the most inopportune time.
Dear friends, I get it. Trust me. I’m feeling it too. I’m feeling the lack of feeling.
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas when the glow of our fireplace and tree is replaced by the light and beeps of monitors.
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas when the warm smells of baking cookies and balsam candles are replaced by the harsh scent of Purell and latex gloves.
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas when the familiarity of my home open to loved ones during the holidays is replaced by a revolving door of strangers coming to perform exams and tests.
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas when I have no idea what it feels like to hold my brand new baby without wires and tubes restricting our access to each other.
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas when I want to be putting pretty dresses on my daughters and myself to go to the candlelight service at church and instead I’m wrapping Sylvia in another hospital blanket.
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas when tonight I have to choose between my daughters: do I wake up with Lilly at a hotel or do I wake up with Sylvia at the hospital?
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas when no matter where I am, I am not whole.
It is hard to feel like it is Christmas.
And yet, it is. It is Christmas. Because regardless of our circumstances, the date doesn’t move. Because regardless of how much we want to give up, the season doesn’t end. Because regardless of how we feel, Jesus never changes.
Jesus never changes.
My church’s mantra during the holiday season is, “Grace has come.” Grace: the unearned love of our Heavenly Father. This is the season we celebrate grace coming in the form of a baby. And regardless of how it “feels” this time of year, grace still comes. Jesus still comes.
So, will we be celebrating Christmas? Yes. How? By remembering that Jesus doesn’t change. By thanking Him for coming even when we didn’t deserve it. And in that way, we should celebrate every single day.
Presents and baking and fires and hot chocolate will happen. It might not be for awhile, but we can wait for all of those things.
Thanks be to God we don’t have to wait for grace, for forgiveness, for Jesus. He is already here, and that will never change.
He never changes.
Merry Christmas today and every day.