what may change next year /thankful for tonight/ merry christmas

I can’t help it. 

Christmas eve makes me nostalgic - even weepy. 

i sat in church tonight, with lit candles, singing “silent night" and looked over at my three children’s candle lit profiles, then looked to my husband, and i had to close my eyes. 

my breathing stopped - for just a few moments. 

my heart fluttered.  

and i tucked the memory deep deep down.

 

maybe i’m a bit of a thinker.  

even a dweller. 

but christmas eve, always makes me reflect.  

on the past…

and also on the future. 

next year this time, what in my life will be different?

will all of my loved ones still be with me? 

will i still be here?

 

we live in a world of uncertainties. 

and passing the candlelight from one to another tonight, i thought about these traditions that move my heart so much.

we all have them…some silly, some spiritual, some emotional.

but why?

 

and it struck me that maybe we have traditions to show us that no matter how much changes in our lives, that things can still stay the same. 

families can break apart…we may lose loved ones. 

sickness may hit and relationships can fail. 

but at the bottom of it all, what we believe, what we repeat, what means the most to us, and what we celebrate, can bring great security and joy to our lives. 

 

tonight, over that candlelight, with “silent night” being sung by hundreds around me, i looked around.  

different from last year...

my son is now taller than me.

my daughter, almost a woman. 

i saw a boy who lost his mother this year, a woman in the midst of a divorce, and a man just diagnosed with a terminal diagnosis.

 

in my heart, i reflect on the changes in my own family, and most recently the loss we endured. 

yet, in the reflection, i see promise. 

the traditions we have created, i love.  they bring me happiness and security.

but tonight, i do not carry fabricated hope, but truth that i can see from thousands of years ago.

traditions can speak to us. 

but only truth can save us. 

 

when life falls apart…

when hearts break. 

when nothing makes sense, 

and it seems all has changed.

we can look to our traditions to remind us….

but we can only see the miracle of Jesus’ birth and the hope and promise it brings, to save us. 

 

so tonight, as i place the last of the presents under the tree…

and i press my ear to the doors of my kiddos to make sure they are slumbering…

i take a moment to stop and just be thankful for this moment. 

for what we have…

who is here…

for all that will carry on, 

and for a forever love, an unending future, and an eternal security. 

 

merry christmas