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I have been careful today to eat right, knowing that I'm under a lot of emotional stress. It has been an avoid free day. My Mom and I ran some errands late this afternoon, and we could see dark storm clouds moving from the north. When we got home, I went for a quick run. It really felt good to pound the pavement and get my heart rate going. I made it home before the cold raindrops started.
For the past two weeks I have heard news reports that ended with, "and that's the real meaning of Christmas."
One of them said miracles were the meaning of Christmas. I feel like I've been watching a miracle unfold in front of me the past three days. If you saw my Dad tonight, you would think - Oh, he is so weak and so helpless. But if you had seen him Thursday, or Friday, or even this morning you would think - It's a miracle how he has improved. But miracles are not the meaning of Christmas.
I've heard at least a dozen times that family is the real meaning of Christmas. Being with my Mom and Dad, trying to help them overcome my Dad's injury has given me a new sense of family this Christmas. Being miles away from my husband and children is not fun, still it has made me appreciate my family in a fresh way. But family is not the meaning of Christmas.
My Mom had planned to decorate the house after she and Dad returned from their trip. But he got hurt, so the tree remains untrimmed. That's ok - decorations are not the meaning of Christmas.
Some say that giving is the real meaning of Christmas. Fortunately all my shopping was done before my Dad fell. So there are gifts under the tree for everyone (except my sweet niece - her gift must still be on a boat somewhere between the US and Europe). I've learned a new perspective on serving as well, which is just another form of giving. My Dad needs help to do basic things that he has always been able to do for himself. I'm glad I'm able to serve him. But giving gifts, even giving myself, is not the meaning of Christmas.
The meaning of Christmas is found only in the baby Jesus. All babies are miracles - but Jesus was not just any baby. He was God himself who became flesh and dwelt on earth. Jesus' family was not just any family. His mother was a virgin who found herself pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, rightfully distressed to find that his fiancÃ© was pregnant, was told by an angel not to be afraid; that this baby was Messiah, who would save the people from their sins. The only fancy light that first Christmas was the star over a stable, which was certainly not decorated in a festive way. No amount of giving on our part can compare to God who "gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
While I have been typing, the computer clock has turned over another day. It's Christmas Eve. I wish you all a Merry and Meaningful Christmas.
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