Yesterday was a different kind of Christmas for my family. Since 2004, Jodi have lived away from our “families” and served churches in New York and Florida. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are obviously significant seasons for us in ministry so we generally would depart on Christmas morning and drive all day to get back to South Carolina to celebrate the season with both families in a whirlwind tour of dinners, parties and presents. Now, as our family has gotten a bit older, our sons have “both family” situations of their own, so we decided to stay in Florida to hang out with our sons and daughter (some call her a daughter-in-law…but she’s just my daughter). This change allowed us to relax a little more. It allowed us to enjoy a family meal. We simply allowed ourselves to soak in the beauty of hte experience rather than rushing to the next engagement.
So, this morning, I look around and see a Christmas tree that has no presents beneath. Our normal “home organization” has been upended with decorations and Christmas celebration. So…my first impulse is to start putting things back to normal.
Now here is the thought/reflection that prompts me to sit still for a few minutes and click away at my keyboard:
Should we really want to get “back to normal?”
Normal was what we did before celebrating the birth of Christ. Normal was what defined the “autopilot” status of our lives. Normal was comfortable…but, then Christmas came.
If you simply read through the Gospels, you quickly realize that NOTHING went back to normal once Jesus came into or through a town. He caused a stir and you could not simply “un-cause” it and get back to normal.
The blind people that he healed could not simply “un-see” again. The sick that he healed could not simply return to their infirm state as if healing had never happened. Certainly there were (and will always be) some who powered through and jumped back into routine as if nothing happened…but weren’t they changed, if even just a little bit? Why go back to normal?
Sure…you (and we) will undecorate the homes in the coming days but decorations do not define normal. Gifts will be put away and junk food will be eradicated from our homes (I hope…since the longer it is here, the more aware I am that I need to go back to the gym). Yes, we will all have to return to our workplaces soon enough, but even this doesn’t define normal.
- If time with family affected you during this week, don’t go back to normal. Remember the preciousness of family connections and nurture them.
- If you caught a glimpse of the majesty of Jesus during the week’s celebration of Him and His birth, don’t go back to normal. Cultivate it.
- If you experienced the joy of generosity through giving, don’t go back to the normal narrative of striving to acquire more for yourself.
Instead, of going back to normal…press on! Move forward into a new and exciting adventure in zealous pursuit of the King’s purpose for your life. Don’t easily give up the beauty and the glory of that which you gained in these days as your normal was redefined.