Our ever-changing Christmas story and how we celebrate

Published 11:33 am Friday, December 22, 2023

BY GLENN MOLLETTE
Christmas is always changing. The biblical story never changes, but your story is always changing. How we celebrate and view the story of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus may change throughout life. We view the story one way as children, but then the story matures as we age.
We all have a lot of Christmas stories. I remember a large family. My mother came from a large family, as did my dad. They all had children, so the total number of family we felt connected to was great. The years have passed by, and my mother and father have passed, as have all their siblings and many of their children. The people we related to, heard from and spent Christmas with has changed. They no longer exist. Many of us have lost spouses and buried children, and thus our Christmas has changed.
The story of Christmas is the same, but it’s not the same. For some of us, we have a difficult time even recognizing Christmas. What once brought us laughter, joy and even peace may no longer exist.
How you spend Christmas this year may be a distant memory next year. What you may dread or enjoy this Christmas may not even be possible next year.
In reality, very few of our Christmases ever look totally the same. Finances change. Jobs change. Health changes. Death robs us of loved ones. Our residences sometimes change.
Mary and Joseph certainly never celebrated Christmas ever again the way they celebrated their first one. The birth of Jesus in a stable and placed in a manger will always stand out as the Christmas we will remember about that family. Hopefully they had a few easier birthday celebrations for Jesus in the years ahead. Although it seems they may have had many more difficult ones as Jesus’ father Joseph soon disappeared from the Biblical narrative. We don’t know if Joseph died or left, but his absence had to be a hardship on Mary and her family.
The story of the first family of Christmas was filled with ups and downs. What Jesus would face later in life was excruciating for his mother and siblings and certainly for him. The end of Jesus’ life story is the best part. The story for Jesus ends well. He was abused, humiliated, lived in poverty, was executed but came out of his tomb as the living son of God. According to the scriptures, he was seen by hundreds of people. The person who had to be more thrilled than all in seeing Jesus after his death had to be his mother. The way she would experience and celebrate Christmas, her son’s birthday, would forever be changed. Her Christmas story became an amazing story of victory, triumph and great hope. Her story changed, and it got better.
My prayer for us all is that we each will experience hope, peace and victory in our ever-changing Christmas story.
(Glenn Mollette’s column is featured in over 600 newspapers in all 50 states.)

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