But God kept them from recognizing him. Luke 24:16 NLT
The news stung like a hornet against bare skin.
For thirteen years, my wife and I had celebrated Christmas with our two children on Christmas day. We considered it a sacred tradition—and thought they did, too. We loved watching them—and later their children—open gifts we had purchased. Then, we got the news.
Around the middle of November, our daughter texted to let us know she was rearranging the Christmas calendar. She would not celebrate Christmas with us on Christmas day. Going from house to house was just too hectic. She wanted Christmas day to be just her and her boys. The news crushed us, but we understood how hard it was on her. We would have to face unexpected Christmas changes.
That’s when I suggested a change of my own. Since neither of our children would visit on Christmas day, we would head to our favorite place: the Great Smokey Mountains. Pigeon Forge to be exact.
Jewish believers also encountered an unexpected change in the first century. The birth of the Messiah didn’t happen the way many expected. He didn’t arrive on a white horse to run off their Roman oppressors. Rather, He was birthed to a young unmarried teenager and in a cave manger. Many didn’t recognize Him because of this unexpected change. A change for them, but not for God.
The holiday season often brings changes we don’t expect—or want. A loved one passes away during the year, and we have to celebrate without them. An empty place resides at the table. An accident causes debilitating injuries and changes the way we celebrate the holidays. A child moves away to college or takes a job in a state far away. Perhaps even overseas. Arguments occur. Tempers flare. Anger and misunderstandings erupt. Unforgiveness sneaks in. The doctor says the “C” word.
The only constant about change is that change is always constant, whether we enjoy it or not. We often can’t prevent it, but we can adapt and move on. Which is what my wife and I did.
Whether or not you enjoy the changes Christmas may throw your way, remember the real reason for the celebration: Jesus’ birth and our salvation. Let the joy of that event overshadow any other pain you may face. And have a Merry Christmas!
Tweetable: Has Christmas changed for you?