I awoke with anticipation. After years of illness, I finally had the
energy to host the Christmas gathering for our kids and grandkids.
Our home sparkled with festive touches, and the dining room table
looked beautiful with our best china and silver. Soon the smell of
fresh yeast rolls and simmering beef stroganoff would greet the
In my mind, I could already hear the grandkids squeal with joy as
they ripped open their packages. And for the adults, I had planned a
fun treasure hunt to find gifts of money. I couldn’t wait to snap a
photo of our family wearing the colorful fleece scarves I had made.
Perhaps we would don them and carol for the neighbors. This would be
a Christmas to remember!
The phone rang. “Merry Christmas!” I said. It was our daughter, but
her “Merry Christmas” sounded flat. “Alex has a fever.”
I sighed. With my compromised immune system and our son’s
two-month-old baby, I knew we couldn’t all get together. So we
rescheduled our family Christmas for New Year’s Eve.
Our son and his family still came for Christmas dinner, but with only
half the family present, I felt let down. We read the Christmas
story, but two little voices weren’t there to join in. The day hadn’t
gone as planned. However, I looked forward to celebrating together on
New Year’s Eve.
As my husband and I crawled into bed, he said, “This year we had a
merry little Christmas–with the emphasis on little.” He yawned. “But
sometimes, little is more.”
As the days of December dwindled, I looked for the more in our little
Christmas. But I couldn’t find it. The little became even less when
our son-in-law got sick and couldn’t join us for our belated
celebration. I half-heartedly cooked another Christmas dinner. But I
couldn’t recapture the memorable Christmas I had hoped for.
Months later, however, God worked in my heart, and the little began
to grow. God reminded me from John 1:16 (NIV) that from him “we have
all received one blessing after another.” Finally, I was ready to
recount some of my “little is more” Christmas blessings.
As I listed them, I realized our entire Christmas season had been
filled with touches of God’s love. God also reminded me of our
pastor’s message on Christmas Eve. The pastor emphasized that Jesus’
birth was only one snapshot in a larger photo album telling the story
of Jesus’ life. Yes, we see Jesus born as a sweet little baby. But
the Bible is the entire album and reveals other pictures of his life,
including his tears, temptation, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Reflecting on our merry little Christmas, I realized that memories of
Christmas shouldn’t hinge on one single day. Christmas is only
one small snapshot in our family’s photo album of life. As I pictured
the years of our lives, I found God’s fingerprints of love and
blessing throughout them. No, we weren’t always smiling in the
pictures. But even when things didn’t go as we planned, they were part
of God’s plan.
Now as I anticipate another Christmas, I know it probably won’t turn
out exactly as expected. But that’s all right. I’ve learned that if I
let Him, God can take even a merry little Christmas and make it more.