This Christmas is a little different for my wife and me. We’re well over 6,000 miles from our children. For the first time we won’t be spending Christmas together. We’re not snuggled in our cozy home with a fire in the fireplace. We’re not gathering at our familiar Christmas Eve service. We’ve not come together around the familiar and comfortable. My heart aches.
This Christmas we find ourselves much closer than we’ve ever been to the where all the action which brought us Christmas took place. A mere 640 miles away is Bethlehem, the site of Jesus’ birth. Just down the road from ancient Nineveh and a few clicks north of what was once Babylon we are once again entering into our Christmas celebrations.
We rejoice over and with new friends. We have a new faith-family with which we gather, give gifts, and sing the songs of hope and faith that are familiar to us. We share food, laughter, love, and hope.
We celebrate Immanuel, “God with us” (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). My heart rejoices.
Be it surrounded by the comfortable and familiar or the new and sometimes strange, He remains.
Though those we love deepest are distant and ones we newly embrace are at hand, He remains.
Though I cannot hug my children and though I still struggle with simple greetings here, He remains.
We are not alone. God is with us. The celebration continues. Praise His Name!