If I’m honest, I’m a little sad to say we haven’t established many Christmas traditions. We’ve been married for five Christmases now, and each year has brought about transitions and change, trials and joy, and just all sorts of life happenings. Even though we haven’t set many traditions yet, there is one thing we’ve done every year. And I just love it.
Every December we’ve gone to the home improvement store and picked out a Christmas tree, and we always ask the associate to give us the bottom piece he cuts off. Then we take that little piece home and make an ornament out of it. Now we have five little pieces of every Christmas that are hanging on our tree. They aren’t the prettiest and no one else would want them, but for us they are treasures.
As we put them on the tree this year, I sat and thought about this little, building tradition and it was like a little, sweet sermon to my soul. I looked at each ornament and what each represented-moves and job changes, new babies and new seasons, uncertainties and questions, prayers answered and prayers still prayed. I looked at each one and the year it represented, and I couldn’t help but dwell on the faithfulness and goodness of God.
There are many ways our married life in the past four and a half years hasn’t turned out the way we planned. Those conversations filled with desires and dreams we had on our walks before we were married seem somewhat distant now. All sorts of things we wanted to do haven’t happened and all sorts of things we didn’t plan on have happened. If it what up to us, we probably would have had our little Christmas tree pieces represent other events; we would have chosen different timing and different places.
But these little Christmas treasures speak to my heart that God’s ways are higher and greater and better and richer. He has brought us to where we are, shaped us into who we are, provided for us every step of the way, and has remained near to us. And that it what this season graciously reminds us: God is near.
Christmas invites us to look at the past faithfulness and goodness of God. We are invited to follow the star and look in the manger and gaze at the One who fulfilled the law and the prophecies, the One who was God in flesh and dwelt among us. And when we remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness and goodness in the past, we are strengthened with a sure hope for the future. When we look back in celebration at the Baby in the manger, we can look ahead with anticipation to the King coming in the clouds.
God’s constant faithfulness in the past assures us that He will continue to be faithful; God’s constant goodness in the past assures us that He will continue to be good.
May we take time this Christmas season to reflect on the faithfulness and goodness of God seen throughout the ages and in our own lives. And may that reflection stir our souls to be confident in who He is and in His ways and in His timing, to be filled with peace in whatever comes our way, and to know deeply that He is with us.