Today you are in for a treat. Today’s Guest Contributor is none other than my wife, Amy Russo. I always enjoy Amy’s writing; I know you will too. Without further ado, sharing her reflections on the Christmas season, is Amy’s post entitled ‘Tis the Season. -AR
Christmas season. A time for family, happiness, joy, fun, love, perfect gifts, Christmas trees, food, great parties with everyone smiling. At least that’s what it looks like in the Hallmark movies. And for some families, this might be the case – but it isn’t for everyone. Or maybe only bits and pieces of it are like this for you. That is okay. Possibly you’d rather skip the whole thing. Also okay.
And these feelings can change from one year to the next.
I’m not “big” into Christmas. Haven’t been for years, which for anyone who knows me as a follower of Christ, that statement seems very odd. I gave up sending Christmas cards a long time ago, both it and shopping for the perfect gift for this one day stresses me out. And heaven forbid I receive a gift which I wasn’t prepared for and have nothing to offer in return!
It’s strange even to me sometimes. I love listening to Christmas music – in fact I’m listening to it now as I write. We don’t have a tree, but I love our string of bright lights in garland over our fireplace mantle and the two stockings on each side. I have a small ceramic Christmas tree that lights up which used to belong to my grandmother. I asked my Mom if I could have it last year and she brought it down with her when she came to visit. Some of the holes are missing their colorful plastic piece, but I don’t care. It’s still pretty when lit. It reminds me of my Gramma, and it reminds me of my Mom and close relationship I had and have with each of them. But that’s it for decorations.
In terms of being a follower of Christ, I truly believe I am to celebrate my God coming to earth as a humble, vulnerable baby – the incarnation – every day throughout the year.
In terms of being a follower of Christ, I truly believe I am to celebrate my God coming to earth as a humble, vulnerable baby – the incarnation – every day throughout the year. For the same reason I am to celebrate my Lord’s death and resurrection every day, not just at Easter. No, I’m not going to argue with you about the day of Christmas being originally a pagan holiday. I don’t care. That’s not the point. Jesus the Christ came to earth as a baby, grew to be a man, knew and understood all it is to be human, left His throne to live this life on earth, die, and be raised on the third day – for ME. Even while I was still very much an enemy of our Father. Jesus did this anyway. This is what I carry with me every day – the gospel – and I am to celebrate this wonderful love of God all the time.
So that said, this time of year can still be hard. Expectations run way too high. So does hope. But hope in the things of this world which are sure to disappoint. People let us down, families are not perfect, our relationships are not in line with Hallmark, our jobs can be stressful, etc. The fallen world of sickness, death, depression, and sin do not take a break just because “’tis the season.”
I am having a more difficult time this year with the “holidays” and I honestly couldn’t tell you why. Yes, 2019 has been a very hard year. So was 2018. But the blessings have outweighed the trials – looking back now.
The Lord has taught me SO very much in the past two years. I’m thankful. Very. Still, I miss my Mom far away in Ohio. I miss my Dad, who has been gone almost two years. I miss our little guy, Cooper, our dog who has also been gone almost two years. A lot of changes. More transition.
Still, as I write this, listening to Silent Night on Pandora, and looking out my office window at the birds flitting around and a beautiful blue sky, I remind myself of what I know. I have a lovely home, a good job, a loving husband and time off for the next week and a half. More importantly, I have Christ. My Lord Jesus who is above all of those things; who brings me comfort in sad reflections. HE is my hope. HE is my New Year’s celebration. HE is my joyous holiday, even in the midst of the strife and disappointments of this fallen world. And I am thankful.
by Amy Russo