Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christ is Born!!

"Christ is Born"
5" X 7" Oil on Canvas Panel

Palm trees, flipflops, balmy breezes and sunset celebrations - not my idea of Christmas! Nevertheless, somehow my husband coerced me into a trip to Florida earlier this month.   I loved it, but because of my surroundings, I often forgot it was Christmas – it didn’t look like it and it sure didn’t feel like it.

Ya see, my memories of Christmas includes “dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh”, and “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.”   I remember the time that Santa (the real one) actually came in our front door, his breath visible as white puffs of vapor accompanied each ho-ho-ho, toting a bag full of gifts – and (you’re gonna be so jealous), he actually knew MY name!!!  (Not sure I’ve ever recovered from that.)  
I remember receiving lots of gifts (Barbies, Barbies, and Barbies) over the years, but maybe more than the "things" I received, was the excitement and anticipation of opening them, the aromas wafting from the kitchen, the sweet smell of my grandma's Tabu cologne as she held me on her lap, imperfect homemade ornaments, and helping mom, dad, my brother and sister decorate the tree (well, maybe not my brother :)  I remember our church decorated in bold reds and the playing of Christmas carols upon entering those bright crimson doors.  And then there’s the extreme anxiety the night I "had the pleasure" of playing the music for our church service – O Holy Night!

Later, after having my own children, I remember the stressful late hours on Christmas Eve working on the  “easy-to-assemble all-parts-and-tools-included” boxed race car sets and doll houses, the sound of their little footsteps running way too early in the morning downstairs to the Christmas tree, then the playing with said boxes, and the non-stop giggling of our daughters as my husband tickled them relentlessly.  And now…. the sound of grandchildren’s footsteps running down the same long hall and stairway - still oh so early in the morning!
That may not look like any of your Christmases – but I’m sure you have a story.  We all have our past experiences and present expectations.  Perhaps this Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas because of your circumstances. Maybe you have more to do than there are hours in the day.  Maybe it’s your first Christmas without a loved one, or you don’t have the resources to make it quite as merry as in the past.   
Wherever we are, whatever our need, God promises to meet us in it – great or small.  If we can just choose to set ourselves, our problems, and our expectations, apart from the hustle and bustle, from the sadness and tears, and call to Him, He will come.

Step out of your “scene” and  

Give Him praise,
Rejoice in His birth,
Recount His past faithfulness,
Thank Him for His present activity,
and Be grateful for the people He has put in your life!
You will find His compassion, His comfort – His unconditional love. 
Whether your evergreens look like palm trees this year, or your snow filled scenes look like desert expanses, Jesus is there, even if it doesn’t feel like it ~ Hope is here!

Christ is Born!!
Matthew 1:16