“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snuggly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger…” Luke 2:6-7 NIV
Recently, a friend asked me to describe my favorite Christmas memory. I struggled to think of just the right memory, the perfect Christmas. The one that stood out from the rest like a Hershey Kiss in a pile of peppermints.
I searched my mind and heart for memories of Christmases past, from my own childhood all the way to when my kids were small and the wonder of Santa was very magical.
I recalled the time when I was probably six or seven, and the power went out on Christmas Eve, forcing my parents, sisters, and I to celebrate by candlelight.
Or when my children, Zack and Abby, were just little ones with chubby cheeks and sparkling eyes. I dressed them in matching Rudolph shirts and took candid pics of them under the beautifully lit tree.
Or how about the time we “adopted” a family and bought gifts for each member. That was certainly a memorable Christmas.
Truthfully, each and every Christmas that I can remember has had some pretty perfect moments.
I remember them with such fondness that my lips curl in a smile and my mood brightens just thinking of them.
But then there are some moments that aren’t so wonderful too. Like the time that my whole family got sick with the flu and had to postpone our festivities until two weeks later. Or the time that “Santa” forgot to bring the main present that Zack wanted.
Yes, lots of imperfect times clutter my holiday memories, too. And that’s okay because my Christmases have been filled with the people I love most, imperfect people, just like me, and made up of a few pristine moments but mostly a lot of flawed ones.
So there was not just one perfect Christmas I could describe to my friend. It seemed as if the memories of each imperfect Christmas had been pieced together to form the warmest, fuzziest blanket for my heart and soul.
They were all a part of each other now, forever stitched together with a bond that couldn’t be broken. No, I certainly couldn’t just narrow it down to one, most memorable, most awesome Christmas.
Or could I? My mind sparked with thoughts of a Christmas thousands of years ago. The night was filled with angels, shepherds, a bright star, and a virgin, Mary, and her husband, Joseph.
That night even the most imperfect people and circumstances were brought together by God to bring forth perfection Himself, in human form.
Baby Jesus was born in a humble barn among dirty hay and animals. But God used all of this to let Jesus’ humility but also his transcendence shine through on that night.
How blessed I am that God sent His Son as a most precious gift, to be the King of the earth and the King of my heart. Surely this was the most perfect, holy Christmas ever, in all of history.
As my Christmas memories burn bright in the landscape of my mind, they mesh together to form a glow more precious than the warmth of the candlelight service at church.
I am thankful for all of the perfect and imperfect moments each Christmas brings but especially for the birthday of my Savior.
This holiday season, take time to slow down, take a break from all of the shopping and wrapping, and ponder your Christmas memories.
Which ones stand out the most to you? Have you thanked God for the birth of His Son? Do you know someone who needs to hear the true meaning behind Christmas?
Be encouraged to celebrate Jesus by making Him the focus of all of your festivities, and better yet, all of your memories to come.
Alisha Ritchie writes from North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brandon, of almost twenty years, and two busy but wonderful teenagers, Zack and Abby. She is a Physical Therapy Assistant by profession but in recent years has also become a multi-published author of devotions and inspirational stories to inspire others in their walk with God. You can read more of her writing at www.seekhimdaily.wordpress.com