This Christmas will be the first year in my entire life that I will not be with my older sister for Christmas. This year for the first time she will be going to Colorado for Christmas to be with her husband’s family. This year for the first time she won’t be at home with our parents and me, but will be with her new family. This year will be different and change will be hard.
Throughout our lives we have always enjoyed going to Christmas Eve service together, singing Silent Night by candle light and then proceeding to see who can keep their candle lit the longest while the other tries everything to blow it out. Christmas mornings were spent eating french toast made by Dad by the fire (no matter how warm it is outside, our mother will always have a fire on Christmas morning even if it means turning the A/C on to make it comfortable) and enjoying opening gifts as a family. This year will be different. We will go to separate Christmas Eve services and blow out our candles like adults (possibly), I will still have french toast, but she won’t. We will still talk, we will still open gifts together via FaceTime, but it will be different. She won’t actually be with me. This will be the new normal as every other year she will spend Christmas with her husband’s family. This is a part of growing up that I very much dislike, it is change that is hard and sad but not a bad thing. I love my brother-in-law and I am beyond thankful that he is a part of my family, but him being in our lives has brought change and that can be difficult.
We tend to think of any difficult thing as a bad thing. Anything that is stressful or causes any sort of discomfort is bad. But that isn’t the case. So many things in life are difficult but amazing. Moving to a new town and starting a new job. Joining a new church, making new friends, changing career paths, all these things are can be stressful and difficult but can bring joy, hope and amazing things to our lives. Change is hard, but it doesn’t have to be bad.
My life has been full of change for the past year. I graduated college, moved to a new city, got a new job, joined a new church, made new friends – all wonderful and difficult changes. These changes have brought stress and joy, tears and laughter, fears and celebrations. All of these changes in my life have been difficult but I am absolutely thankful for them. They have brought me closer to my family, brought me new friends and a new church family, they have stretched me and given me so many opportunities to grow in my faith. This change has definitely been hard, but it is far from bad.
As I think about change, especially at this time of year, I think about the change that was made in that little town of Bethlehem. The world changed in a huge way when Jesus was born. As we look at the story of Jesus, I’m sure we will all agree that the change was difficult for many people and yet it was the most beautiful and life-giving change this universe has ever seen. I am thankful for the change in my life and the change in the world that we are celebrating this season. Though change can be hard, it can also be the greatest thing to ever happen.