December 26 – A Good Life
One Christmas night years ago, after an exhausting but good day, I stood at the bathroom sink and reached for my toothbrush. The gray hairs in the reflection caught my eye. I saw my age – the tired eyes, the wrinkles around them and the silver framing a once-younger forehead.
Over the course of our day, we had visited with family, and I was reminded of when I was young and Christmas was lived through the mind of a child, then a teenager, then a young woman. I had flashbacks of being my mother and father’s “child” and how it felt to be cared for as such. Albeit hard at times, I settled on the sweet reminder that I’ve had a good life.
I still have a good life.
Now, I celebrate Christmas with the mind of a mother. It felt like an eternity coming, and, now, the years seem to pass in mere blinks. I’m the one ushering the children to bed before Santa arrives, stockpiling presents in secret places until that special night, cramming chocolates and trinkets into over-sized stockings… Now, I’m the one creating and fostering the magic of Christmas.
No one gives you a manual – a Christmas How-To… You become older and life shifts and you shift right along with it.
That’s how it seems to be in all areas of life. Seasons change and perspectives change. Our physical bodies change and our minds and spirits grow. Our lives move from place to place and the people in them also shift. One thing that remains constant, though, is that life is good. It truly is. It is because we are alive and have Christ and we live in and through Christ.
Life, even in its hardest times, is good, because we are constantly loved by God. He meets our needs in unexpected ways. He comforts us when we can’t find comfort in any worldly person or thing. He fills us with joy and contentment even when, according to the world’s standards, we appear to have very little to show for our days and effortsj.
My prayer for you and for myself this year is that we continue to live the good life. I pray that even when your hopes are deferred and your faith is tested that you see the good things in your life.
Psalm 31: 19-24
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness,
which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you,
in the sight of the children of mankind!
20 In the cover of your presence you hide them
from the plots of men;
you store them in your shelter
from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord,
for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
when I was in a besieged city.
22 I had said in my alarm,[b]
“I am cut off from your sight.”
But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy
when I cried to you for help.
23 Love the Lord, all you his saints!
The Lord preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!
Klover House Christmas:
Today, December 26th, is my father’s birthday. He said that he always felt a little pang of sadness growing up, because his childhood friends rarely wanted to celebrate his birthday with him and parties were usually lonely. “They’d rather stay home and play with their new toys,” he’s said. Even now, we celebrate his special day on Christmas, because we’re already gathered as a family. His gifts are often “combined,” and I almost always forget to bring a separate birthday card.
As I was reading about today – the 2nd Day of Christmas – I learned that it is referred to as “Saint Stephen’s Day.” Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyred for his faith. We are not Catholic, but my father’s middle name happens to be Stephen. I’ve never asked him or my grandparents, who are both now gone, if this is why he was given that name.
All this to say, if it wasn’t for this devotional, I may have never bothered to look up “Saint Stephen’s Day”. I would have never been inclined to ask my father about the origin of his middle name, and most importantly, I may have never associated December 26th with a man willing to lay his life down for his faith. Even now, centuries later, Christians are surrendering their last breath in the name of Jesus. This awareness is a call from complacency as a Western Christian.
My hope for you and myself today, and every day of these 12 Days of Christmas, is that we would make each day meaningful and apply it to our own lives in such a way that we would be better because of it.
Today, I plan on enjoying “Family Time” with my husband and children and spending time talking with them about “Pappy’s” birthday and Saint Stephen’s Day, so that they will grow up with knowledge I hadn’t gained until now, allowing them to appreciate being a Christian in America. In order to keep peace in America, we need to raise world-changers, peace-makers, and steadfast lovers of Jesus. Why not start that intentional mission today in honor of men and women like Saint Stephen, who, like our Savior, paid the ultimate price so that the faith we love so dearly would survive all of these years?
Some games we are playing with our children today include (aff. links):