Recently Jaan asked me how to say mama in English. When I told him that it’s just the same, he replied, “No, it’s not! Mama in English is Phyllis.”
Christmas is still going here (actually not really even started yet), so here's another Christmas thought. I really enjoyed Noel Piper's book about family traditions. (It's available free, more reading material that I downloaded when I could.) She quoted a letter from a friend that included this:
Christmas is not very meaningful to me this year one way or the other. I feel a bit like God and I are on a journey together, seeing and doing a lot, but certainly not staying anywhere for any length of time.
Her answer to that letter was like it was written to me:
It’s not at all surprising that Christmas is hard for you this year. The reason for Christmas is the same as it ever was, and nothing is more essential to our lives than the Incarnation. What’s different for you, I expect, is that the traditions we wrap around December 25 to make it different from other days, those traditions and activities are as nothing to you this year. In fact, the thought of them probably weighs like a lump of lead in your belly. So what! Trees are nothing. Feasts are nothing. Lights are nothing. Music is nothing.
Only Christ matters. He is the only reason that you can be on any sort of journey with God, that you can have anything at all to do with God. Only Jesus matters.
. . . One time I told someone in hard times, “Just hang in there.” But she corrected me, “I’m not just hanging in there. I’m trying to hang on to Jesus.”
So, please, just keep hanging on to Jesus.
Sometimes, when things are going well, we might too easily forget that we have only one sure, immovable, dependable strength—Jesus, who was a baby once and is always and forever God. That is what holds us and keeps us whether or not we can carry out our traditions. May our decorations, gifts, and festivities—or lack of them—never block our view of him but always point us toward him.
Treasuring God in Our Traditions, page 88