I remember it so well. The first time my husband deployed over Christmas.
Yes, sometimes it does happen more than once.
I planned a trip to my sisters, where my entire family would descend.
I certainly missed my husband but he and I discussed my plans long before Christmas happened. It comforted him to know where the kids and I would be, what we would be doing as we celebrated Christmas apart.
It was not my loneliness at Christmas, but thoughts of my husband’s loneliness, that forced tears from my eyes.
Christmas on a ship is not my idea of a Merry Christmas and I’m sure it’s not for most.
I’ve heard it described as just another day.
Keeping busy with the everyday tasks of their “job” just to pass the time.
Lonely would be an understatement.
I remember reading the Christmas story that year with fresh eyes.
They were to call Him Immanuel.
Which means “God with us.”
What does that mean for the Sailor out to sea? For the Soldier in Afghanistan, and the Airman that stands guard Christmas Eve? What does that mean for the young wife at home who can’t afford to travel to extended family while her husband is away?
Our God, with us. With you! Whether you are facing your first Christmas alone due to a deployment, a death in the family, or circumstances beyond your control, you are not alone. Christ came to this earth to “be with us.”
My husband described his Christmas experience aboard ship as a stripping away of all the distractions our culture offers this time of year, and laid bare the true meaning of the holiday…..a time of genuine worship and giving thanks to the One who gave it all up for us.
What better way to celebrate Christmas than with Jesus…not lost in a sea of over commitment, but just time spent with Him.
My prayer is that we will make room in our heart for Jesus Christ, just as that one Innkeeper made room in his stable. I often wonder of those countless other Innkeepers that turned Mary and Joseph away. They completely missed the Christ child. The birth of our Messiah. They were in the midst of their Savior and completely missed it. What blessings they missed!
May we not pass by the blessings the Lord intends to bestow upon us this holiday season…He wants to be “God with us.”
May our hearts be open to His presence. For that is the best present we could ask for!!!!