This Christmas, will undoubtedly be a little quieter for this McDonald clan. I imagine on Christmas Eve, Seth and I will sit by the fireplace, watching the lights on the Christmas tree (that we have yet to put up), and talk about the Joys of Christmas Past that we got to spend with his dad. We will take out our precious memories that we hold so dear and allow them to warm us this year. Bob Hope once said, “When we recall Christmas past, we usually find the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” One of the simplest things I will cling to this year is how dad loved mom and how mom loved dad. Dad and mom didn’t exchange fancy doo-dads each year, they didn’t exchange expensive thingy-ma-bobs either, instead they exchanged a warm, comfy pair of slippers. Every year. What always made me smile was their genuine joy at opening their slippers and showing them off. Their love for one another was deep and steady and their love for their family was the same. I loved watching dad wrestle with Mac and tease Gwennan. I loved listening to his laugh, and I loved hearing him and Seth talk about everything from basketball to our Savior.
The first Christmas I spent with the McDonalds, I walked into a group that did not all have the same last name, yet still called one another family. That Christmas, I think I got a small glimpse of what heaven must be like. It was also the first Christmas I got pegged in the head with a wad of wrapping paper. This family has wrapping paper wars like none other! Whenever I think about that first Christmas, I can’t help but smile. Each Christmas spent with dad was just as special as the first! Our second to last Christmas stands out to me. We went over to mom and dad’s and watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We laughed so hard. Complete strangers used to tell dad he looked like Chevy Chase. We all got a kick out of that!
Most of us probably have a favorite memory of Christmas past. Each one is wrapped in a different memory, but we may be surprised to find that once unwrapped, we all hold the same present. The gift of love, hope, and peace. Cherish your Christmas Past. Relish in the joy it brings. And thank our God for those winter seasons that make the lights twinkle in a magical way against the stark white of snow and the cold, dark nights.
Read: Micah 5:2-5a & Isaiah 9:6-7
Consider: Christmas Past, Present, and Future all have one thing in common: God is in control. He has always been in control and will always be. Even when life does not make sense. When we fail to see the big picture because we can’t even begin to comprehend it, we must trust that God knows and cares (Ecclesiastes 8:17). It is easy to become overwhelmed with sadness when we look at not celebrating Christmas with dad this year, but praise the Lord, God has given us the Joy of Christmas Past. AND He promises the Joy of Christmas Future too. But first, we must be thankful for and experience the Joy of Christmas Present. Because, the one thing that I treasure most when I look back at Christmas Past, was being in the presence of the ones I love the most.
I came across this quote from Agnes M. Pharo: “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” Praise the Lord for the gift of the Prince of Peace.
My Christmas wish for each of you is from Jude 1:2, “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.”
To-Do: What is your favorite memory of Christmas Past? How can you use the Joys of Christmas Past for Christmas Present?