We were expecting things to be different this year. Changes in the family have made us wary of almost every occasion.
So it was with no small amount of dread that I awaited the traditional opening of gifts. Certainly, I thought, things just won’t be the same. For one thing, it was coming a day late. And then there was the element of missing people. A few would not be with us. And then there was the fact that the economic downturn would be an obstacle for all that gathered.
But the magic moment of Christmas emerged. The gifts, some modest and some more extravagant, were a side note to the beautiful thoughts and love poured into their selection. After this long-awaited festival of sharing, I chided myself on my earlier anxiety. After all, wasn’t the greatest present in the world delivered in a small family gathering in a stable during tough economic times and horrific political and social stress?
So, while I was still thinking that perhaps Christmas would be unrecognizable this year, I received the greatest present of them all. The moment of Christmas began to sink in.
“Emmanuel” does mean “God with us.” And He is.