Last Christmas I was a few months into a new job. My new office was an hour from my home, my hours were from 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and I worked on Saturdays. I was always exhausted and out of sync with everyone in my life. And I had to work on Christmas Day!

I felt guilty about not being able to give my family, church, and community the same effort as usual. I typically plan and host some charity/community projects, get involved with our church’s Christmas outreach, and do numerous “Christmassy” things with family and friends. But last year I felt like I was in a parallel universe, one where everyone was having one Christmas experience, and I was having another.

Have you ever faced a Christmas that looked nothing like your past Christmases? Did you feel a bit untethered too? I typically get so wrapped up in all the supporting events and activities that they end up being the whole kit and caboodle. Much the way a kid ruins their appetite by snacking on goldfish crackers before dinner, I fill up on Christmas-this and Christmas-that, to the point that Jesus is a bit of an afterthought. But not last year. Last year was a reversal. I did no decorating. I did no baking. I did almost no shopping. I did no hosting.

But I did do a lot of praying, a lot of thinking on my long commute, a lot of letting go of expectations for the season. Jesus was born, that’s a fact regardless of how I’m able to celebrate it. When the angel appeared to the shepherds on the night He was born, he said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”1

Even if December 25th looks like any other day, Jesus still came. Salvation and a relationship with Him are still freely available. His presence is real every day.

I feel like my Christmases going forward had a reset, a priority shift that might not have come any other way. Honestly, it’s very liberating to look at Christmas without any expectations of traditions or wanting it to match or top past Christmases. It doesn’t need a supporting act to make it glorious. Celebrate as big or as small as you want. Nothing can change the fact that unto you (and me) is born a Savior.

  1. Luke 2:10–11