“Well, it looks like it will be him and me around the tree,” the woman said pointing to her husband with a smile.
“We’ve done it before, we can do it again,” she explained as we talked about Christmas plans. It was one of many conversations we’ve had with people coming into the newspaper office.
One woman was in buying Bristol board so she can make big signs for her family as they have a Zoom Christmas. Another lady was putting family recipes together and getting them sent out to her adult daughters so they could make the family favorites in their own homes this year. Yes, it will be very different and I have heard the phrase “simple Christmas” over and over again. Can Christmas be simple?
We arrived home on a late-night flight, thoroughly exhausted and exhilarated. As we passed through the sliding glass doors at the Saskatoon Airport, I was carrying our new little daughter in my arms following the completion of her adoption and our trip to Romania to bring her home.
Christmas trees in the airports reminded us many people's thoughts would soon be turning to the celebration of the holidays. Our daughter, Vandana, was three years old when we brought her home, and since we had no idea how the transition from an orphanage to her new home would go, we intentionally kept our Christmas plans very simple.
We put up a tree, filled a large basket with children's Christmas books, and we sang. Christmas music filled our home, as well as the gap in the language barrier we were working through.
We weren't rushing to events or frantically crossing things off a checklist. We weren't ensnared by the trap of thinking things needed to be baked, wrapped or hung or Christmas wouldn't happen. We sat and read books, sang carols and got to know our daughter. That little girl is now 25 years old but what we experienced that Christmas kept us on a path of ensuring we were focusing on the right thing. Some might call it a simple Christmas. It is anything but.
More than 2,000 years ago, Mary and Joseph were anticipating the birth of a baby, yet they were not surrounded by loved ones putting finishing touches on a nursery. In fact, they were separated from family. Subject to a decree. After taking shelter in the only place available to them, a baby was born and placed in a manger; a trough used to hold feed for animals. The most amazing gift given to all mankind. That baby is Christ the Lord.
Somehow, year after year we pile so much up in terms of our planning for the Christmas season, I wonder if we have lost sight of the manger.
That first Christmas with our new daughter was so simple in its focus. On Christmas Day, just three weeks after arriving home, Vandana and her dad were playing with her new Duplo blocks and singing Away in a Manger. In the stillness of the previous three weeks the message of the manger came through. She heard it, and learned it in a language that was new to her. Simple? Yes…and no.
The gift contained within that lowly manger is what Christmas is all about. It’s that simple—and that amazingly profound.
Christmas is the birth of our Savior; our Redeemer. The mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. So let’s approach the manger this Christmas with new eyes. Look past anything that may distract us from seeing what is there, and then truly set our gaze on Jesus. O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord. That’s my outlook.