Updated: Dec 21, 2020
It is ironic to be inspired by the British on Thanksgiving, but I was. Each year my entire family gathers at my parent's house. We eat with thirty people and have enough food for thirty more just incase. The day after Thanksgiving my husband's family comes to our home and we have a second full day of eating and visiting.
The geographical variety of our large group of people is remarkable for a holiday gathering, but a COVID nightmare. So, we all thought it responsible to not celebrate together. I felt disappointed and melancholy about the entire situation until I woke up on Thanksgiving morning. The phrase and decision fell on me to keep calm and carry on. I woke up and prepped as normal. My family of four sat where thirty normally do and we carried on. We listened to music, used our nice dishes, and watched the Macy's Day Parade. My family got used to me saying "it is still Thanksgiving," implying we would do all of these things and carry on. After all, we are not thankful when we have what we wanted or expected, we are thankful with what we have.
I feel that it was a great Thanksgiving for my family. It was quiet, but it was good. I decided to keep calm and carry on and I found my joy and was not shaken. Just a few weeks later, the Christmas week is upon us and I am committed to have the same outlook and approach. I understand that everything is different this year, but is it really? Question that please. If we don't, we might just become bitter. We might even lose sight of the truth that there are infinitely more things we can expect and appreciate than those that will inconvenience us.
We all love Christmas, in large part I believe, because it does not change. We watch the same claymations, eat the same dishes, look at lights, give gifts, make candy, and rarely deviate from our own version of these things. We all nod and smile when someone tries to write a new song in respect of the effort, but everyone knows that if it came out after Bing Crosby produced it, it's not going to be in the children's program next year. Things that are familiar to us, good and bad actually, are comforting to us. That is lucky for us; foundationally Christmas has not changed in 2000 years. It doesn’t get more comforting than that. If we think hard enough about that we will even find joy.
You'll find your comfort in Christmas with the familiar, but I hope you find your joy. Comfort might be found in these familiar traditions, and it is a nice start, but it is not joy. The joy is found in the familiar story that definitely has not changed. It's the epicenter and genesis of Christmas. Get acquainted with that story and you'll find your comfort and joy, I assure you. There are only a few days left in this season. Let us keep calm and carry on then ”may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people.” Luke 2:10