A Different Kind of Holiday Season to Cap a Difficult Year

“The way my family anticipates Christmas feels different from the way we look forward to almost anything else. For other things, we’re excited about learning, seeing, or exploring something new. But Christmas is different. We look forward to it all year. We count down the days, just to experience it nearly exactly as we always have.” Joanna Gaines, Magnolia Journal, Issue 9~

Twenty-twenty has been a year very much unlike any other year. For many of us, this Christmas will be unlike any other as well. The dream of experiencing the holiday season exactly as we have in the past seems impossible.

In many ways, though, this time is much like any other. Christmas decorations are up in every kind of store. The mall has had the tree up with the lights on for weeks. Grocery stores feature similar decorations and music. Cranberries, turkeys, hams, and cookie ingredients line the shelves–all to evoke our memories of holidays of the past.

I doubt we’ll see long lines of children waiting to see Santa this year. Something that would have tortured me had it happened in the ’70s and ’80s–that period of time when my children posed 16 years in a row for Santa pics (toward the end, much to the chagrin of the first- and second-born).

And I don’t expect the kids’ choir will entertain a crowd in the center of the mall this year either.

Much will be different this year. But much will be the same. We can still enjoy the music, lights, and food. We can wish each other blessings in person or virtually. We can work to remember that it’s the love that matters more than whether we are in person or online.

As we search for finding that sameness in the holidays this year, may we remember those who’ve had it worse than we have. Even if we feel we are at our lowest, it often isn’t difficult to find someone who’s feeling lower than we are.

Even though this year won’t be exactly the same (no year ever is), we are drawn to the season of peace–a respite from the world of bitter politics and bad news.

We will find the joy of the season as we proclaim God’s goodness to others–those we love–those in need around us–those driving by our houses whose lives we don’t know.

We are the people of light. And the darkness around us can never overcome the light.

That is the great promise of Emmanuel–the Light of the world with us.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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22 Replies to “A Different Kind of Holiday Season to Cap a Difficult Year”

  1. You are right: while so many things are different, this is still the season of peace. That has not changed. God bless you, Nancy!

  2. This has been a difficult year in many ways. I am thankful that in all the difficult times, there has been good to surface. God’s love has been shown in many ways.

  3. This year has been a rollercoaster of joy and heartache. I have always looked forward to Christmas but am struggling this year with separation from my loved ones, especially my daughter. The true meaning of Christmas is your last two lines: Emmanuel the light of the world has come near. God is with us. And darkness cannot overwhelm it. Thank you for this reminder.

  4. I love how you put this into a wonderful perspective. Maybe we can more clearly see what is important this year. And your message is important to remember that people can be much worse off that ourselves. Be generous in all we do and shine the light of Christ.

  5. I love this and needed it so much! Thank you, Nancy. I am sharing in my Facebook group, for we all could use a reminder that “the darkness around us can never overcome the light.”

  6. Yes, this Christmas celebration will look different in 2020, but it won’t be any different in our hearts. We still know that Christ came into the world, indwelling a human body, so that he can make himself known to us and save us. It is a marvelous thing to contemplate! Merry Christmas, Nancy.

  7. Thank you for sharing these words of encouragement. As a creature of habit who likes our celebrations of Christmas to be the same from year to year, I’m attempting to hold everything loosely. Your words impress upon me the fact that the birth of the Savior is about him, not my expectations, and I need to let go and see what he has in store for us. Very timely, dear friend!

  8. I appreciate your honesty about our struggles and yet the reminder to count our many, many blessings. We have all that really matters, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The gift of His life gives us true life. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  9. Thank you, Nancy. A friend posted a photo of her kids visiting Santa at a large sporting store. Santa was enclosed in a large glass case and the kids sitting in front of him, talking to him on phones. Pray you and your family’s Christmas is blessed!

  10. Nancy, while this year has been so challenging you offer a such a hopeful and promising reminder that “We are the people of light. And the darkness around us can never overcome the light.”

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