And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
When I was a youngster, Christmas was the time of receiving gifts you actually needed for winter. For our family, there were very few trips to the store during the year to buy the newest fad. We received quite a few gifts for Christmas or at least with six children and two adults in a small living room; it seemed like a lot! One Christmas when I was in my mid-teens, the only gift I wanted was a small gold cross pendant. I opened each wrapped box in search of that cross and was disappointed with each unwrapping. Finally, I was down to all the boxes that looked like they contained clothes. I didn’t want to open any of them. I was sad and disappointed that the one gift I had wanted was not among my pile of gifts. My family coaxed me into opening those boxes of clothes, but I did so without any joy, gratefulness, or appreciation.
After Christmas dinner, we opened our stockings. There in one of the small boxes in my Christmas stocking was the cross pendant I had wanted. I was ecstatic. My mood went from doom and gloom to happy and joyous.
As I reflect on that Christmas day so many years ago, there are many lessons. I wonder how I could have been so ungrateful and sad when I sat in front of a pile of gifts which contained many stylish clothes. How unappreciated of the time and energy my mother had given in sewing some of them. I was so focused on the one thing that I wanted: I missed the joy, beauty, amazing gifts that were surrounding me. How often in life are we like that? We want our own will to be done and refuse the gifts and beauty of another way, which often is as good or better than what we wanted.
I pray as you journey through this Christmas season and through life, you will be open to appreciating what is happening in the moment and enjoy. Be willing to be surprised at the unexpected. Be flexible and receive with an open and grateful heart.
Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas!
May Christ be born (reborn) within you!