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If the Fates Allow

Listen to this week’s Devotional here.

Author: Nancy Wade

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yule tide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

The Monday after Thanksgiving, I kicked into high gear and began preparations for Christmas. I pride myself on giving thoughtful gifts and managed to find several items online for family members and friends. My husband lugged fresh Balsam fir tree up our hill, into the house, and secured it in its stand. We carefully strung lights around it and hung bright ornaments carefully on its branches.

It took me a few days of hard work, but soon the mantle was festooned with lights and brightly colored figurines including a Santa on skis. A living room table featured a variety of snowmen figures with sweet-smelling and fragrant candles. I decorated shelves in an inset niche on my bathroom wall with favorite ornaments from my childhood: a wooden cardinal drinking hot chocolate, a silver sleighbell, a pewter angel holding a peace dove, and a stuffed and snoozing red Santa.

Next came our Christmas village: a row of stately old-fashioned homes and businesses arranged atop the buffet in our sunroom: a drug store, a church, three stately homes – one with a wide front porch – and a winery. A little boy figure pulls a sled and groups of carolers and skaters add a festive note to the scene.

As I write this on the 13th of December, I feel as if I am ahead the game. I am not a list-maker, but have a constant list in my head of the many Christmas-related tasks I need to accomplish. As I baked this morning: fudge with way too much sugar and baklava with way too much butter, I ruminated about my perpetual need to create the “perfect” Christmas. What is it that drives me? Is it tradition, a need to impress? Is my infatuation with, and immersion in, the preparations for Christmas healthy or obsessive? When Christmas morning arrives and the family is here, I must admit I do want everything to shine.

I try to be mindful of the many reasons Christmas is such an important part of our culture. The birth of the Christ child is central to our belief during the Advent season. The simple story of the baby’s birth in the manger enchants us. The love Christ taught throughout his life gives meaning to our lives all year long.

The past few years have not been easy ones: The worldwide Covid pandemic, the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building, economic uncertainty – all have contributed to feelings of unease and imbalance. Our church has done such an amazing job of keeping us together during this time of uncertainty with YouTube services, gift deliveries, Zoom meetings, and finally – within the last six months – in-person church! I have been flooded with a sense of gratitude for all that First Cong has done. I have so appreciated our church’s thoughtful approach during the pandemic.

Perhaps that is one small part of why I am pulling out all the stops to decorate and celebrate this year. I want to savor this magical time, to think of creative ways to ring in the season in the most joyful ways possible.

Once again as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who were near to us
Will be dear to us once more

Someday soon, we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now

(Irving Berlin)


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