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CHRISTMAS & THE SEASONS OF LIFE

Christmas was magical to me as a kid.

The fresh-cut pine tree loaded with lights and ornaments; piles of snow outside; Charlie Brown and The Grinch Christmas specials; holiday kielbasa and raspberry cream pies; family gatherings; opening gifts; no school for two weeks.

For me, it didn’t get any better than Christmastime. All I had to do was show up, and holiday goodness flooded my way.

Christmas as a parent introduced a new set of dynamics. I quickly discovered how much energy my mom and dad expended to make Christmas special for me and my eight siblings. Christmas felt different as a parent. Instead of just showing up and reaping the fruit of other’s hard work, we had to create the atmosphere for our boys. Christmas took on a new flavor, but it was still wonderful. Who doesn’t love watching their children react with raw joy when they open a Star Wars Lego set, or the newest game system, or (my personal favorite) the indoor basketball hoop? I found this new season of Christmases fun—but at a different and much more unselfish level.

Today we celebrate Christmas as near empty-nesters (one more left at home). Three of the boys are married now. We’re in the middle of figuring out how this new season of Christmases will work. Competing schedules and family traditions, along with the associated emotions, are now in play. We’ll be bouncing our granddaughter on our knees for her first Christmas this year. How awesome is that?

Both of my parents are gone. Laura’s mom passed away ten years ago, but her dad is still with us. Funny . . . I still miss my parents this time of year, even though mom’s been dead for thirty-seven years, and dad for twenty-one. And I wonder about this new season of Christmases. Will we’ll learn to enjoy it in a new way?  Can we adjust again? What will it look like?

So whatever season you find yourself in, learn to appreciate what’s good about it. It’s okay to shed tears for loved ones who’ve died; for relationships lost. It’s normal to feel mixed emotions as you transition into a new season of Christmases. But try to remember that God sending His Son to earth is the unchangeable reality of Christmas. As long as Jesus rules your heart, you’ll have one constant throughout all of your life’s Christmas seasons. And He will help you adapt along the way.

Laura and I wish you joy and peace during the Christmas holiday!

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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