Putting Christmas Away

For the first time ever, I was glad to say goodbye to Christmas.

Usually, I delay putting away all our family’s Christmas decorations and lights, waiting until at least the new year, maybe pushing it out yet another week. I love everything about Christmas! 

But this year, I was ready to move on.

Have you ever had a Christmas season that was unexpected, to say the least? A holiday not so full of cheer? Perhaps events didn’t go as planned?

As a family it feels like we have a running track record for busted holiday plans. Let’s just say that after two unexpected hospital visits for different family members – surgery for a kidney stone, and a heart cath that only partially addressed the situation – we were pretty exhausted.

We did manage to get a family Christmas Eve photo, and you can only kind of tell my husband has a pasted-on smile through his kidney pain.

So, as soon as everyone was kind of feeling back to normal, the Christmas decorations were down, put away and stored in the attic. 

I’m sure we will talk about this particular Christmas for years to come! However, there is one thing that as much as I’ve wanted to move on from the season, I don’t ever want to forget.

Jesus was there with us in the middle of it all.

That’s why He came – and why Jesus is called Immanuel, God with us.

In the ER before dawn, waiting for surgery to begin, running kids to activities, doing load after load of dishes, sorting out medications, praying for provision, lighting candles on Christmas Eve and then rushing home, interrupted sleep, being at home together, and finishing our Christmas Countdown, Jesus didn’t leave us for a moment. He showed up in each circumstance, in every fearful moment, and every joyful gasp on Christmas morning.

Isaiah prophecies that “The Lord Himself will give you this sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (with means ‘God is with us’)” in Isaiah 7:14. Then, when the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary in Luke 1:28, he greets her with this incredible proclamation and promise: “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”

The Lord is WITH you.

“With” literally means in the company with, behind and beyond. When God promises to be with us, He is right alongside of us, here with us in the journey. He is behind us, and He is beyond us. No matter what we will face tomorrow, he’s already been there. Or what we faced yesterday, He was there with us, too. And, He’s with us now — right now. Jesus is there with me, and you, in the middle of it all.

That’s why we can have faith in the midst of unexpected Christmases, and unknown New Years. We are not alone. And, we can completely trust the One Who is With Us.

So though we’ve put Christmas away more quickly than ever before, our Immanuel stays with us as we enter this next year. And that gives me so much hope for 2023!

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