A Pastor’s Ponderings: A “Normal” Christmas

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Pastor Jeff WadeBy Pastor Jeff Wade, The Rock of Panama City Beach

Can you believe it? Christmas time is here again. How can it already be Christmas again, right? I believe that if you asked everyone collectively what their favorite holiday is, most would respond without even having to ponder it at all. Christmas!

There is no doubt that our world has changed. Probably forever. As a pastor, I’ve been asked multiple times when do you think things will get back to normal. My answer? Never. First of all, what even is normal? What does it mean? And isn’t normalcy constantly changing? It’s just my opinion, but if we are calling normal anything prior to Covid, the answer unfortunately according to me is never. Things will never be the way they once were. Again, just my opinion. Can I give you a couple of thoughts today to consider? To ponder?

Maybe this isn’t so bad. Now before you start sending me emails, let me finish. I’m not talking about the sickness, the deaths that have unfortunately occurred. I’m not speaking about economic downturns and mandates and lockdowns. There isn’t a good way to spin any of that. But maybe ALL of this isn’t bad. Perhaps what once was “normal” needed to change? One thing that I have taken away from the last two years is that I now have a different perspective on things. Things that were once “normal.”

For me, at one time in my life a “normal” Christmas meant eagerly expecting Santa Clause to land at my house, drop down my chimney, and leave me a bunch of presents. That’s what was “normal.” As time went on the normal changed. My perspective changed. I matured from the expectation of receiving gifts to being so excited about being able to give gifts to my own children and family members. What was normal then was lying in bed on Christmas Eve filled with excitement and anticipation at the though of seeing the excitement on my children’s faces.

Later in life, as my children got a little older, we stopped exchanging gifts altogether and instead we started taking Christmas vacations instead. That’s what was normal. So normalcy is constantly changing. Believe it or not, the last two years have brought about a few good things. New normals if you will, that perhaps needed to change. Families have spent more time together. Churches have been shaken and strengthened. People have learned how to lean on one another and I’ll just tell ya…. This Christmas, I’m simply content with what I have. I’m just glad that my family is here with me. I’m glad we are healthy. I’m glad that I have freedom. That is my new normal.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 says this: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

Maybe that should be our new “normal” Christmas. Godliness. contentment. Blessed to have food and clothing. Wanting for nothing, and yet thanking God for all that we have. Thank you God, for giving us your son Jesus as a gift that leads to salvation and eternal life in Heaven with you.

I would like to wish each of you a Merry Christmas. May this season be simply filled with contentment and gratitude. Pause today and give God thanks for all that he has done.
Merry CHRISTmas everyone.