I wrote this for a collection of Christmas devotionals in 2011. It is still appropriate for the times at Christmas in 2013.
“May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.” Jude 1:2 (NSRV)
The winter of 1991 found me in the middle of a messy divorce. I struggled to pay a four-digit mortgage and to feed and clothe three growing adolescents on a teacher’s salary.
On previous Christmases, our letters to Santa had been long and expensive lists of toys and electronics, but this year we would have to find a different way to “make merry.”
I tried to explain our situation to the kids, but they stopped me mid-apology with an announcement of their own.
“We don’t want anything for Christmas.” They explained they already had everything they needed – we had each other, a roof over our heads and a safe place at night, food to eat (even if it was way too many servings of boxed mac and cheese or ramen noodles), and they had me. They knew I wasn’t going to abandon them.
Grace replaced greed in our letters to Santa that year.
Our Nativity set dwarfed the centerpiece-sized Christmas tree. Three small store bought presents lay next to a mound of homemade gifts, but the best present of all sat on the carpet next to me – my three wise children, smiles on their faces, drinking hot chocolate and singing carols.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the love and comfort of family.