My family always loved celebrating Christmas.  My mom loved to decorate, cook, and shop.  Our home was filled with Christmas cookies, smells of traditional Polish food, and wrapped gifts.  In fact, I remember at times it seemed our living room was half-filled with presents.

As a young person, I remember the joy of Christmas being about GETTING gifts.  Christmas was all about what we/I would be given.  New clothes, toys, and even bicycles filled my thoughts and hopes.

In my middle years, the joy of Christmas was the act of giving gifts.  I loved shopping and expressing love for the people I cherished.  I started shopping in October and started working my way through a list of over 50 people I wanted to feel special by giving them something I knew they would like.  It was a good time of life for me.  It was an expensive time of life, no doubt, but worth it.

Now, in my older years, I find my focus shifting away from things.  I am not so concerned about things (both giving and receiving) and find Christmas to be more about longing.  I long for peace inside myself and peace in the world.  I care more about the hungry being fed, children being surprised, and wars being ceased.  I find myself longing to know about this Christ-child who is born and the Christ-man who died upon the cross.  I find myself longing for heaven.

I do not think I am alone in my transitions.  In fact, I think it is more of a transformation than a transition.  To move from the immaturity of getting, to the more selfless act of giving is a good thing.  But, now, to move to LONGING is truly a gift.  It puts life, death, Christmas, the world, and the future into perspective.

I pray for us all, that no matter what our age or our state of life is, that this Christmas is about longing for God.  I pray that God will reward our longing for a world with peace, His presence, and incredible hope for the new year.

In these days of Covid-19, our hopes seem to be in the drug companies that are creating a vaccine.  I pray God these vaccines change the direction of this horrible disease.  Our hopes, however, need to be in our Lord and in His coming.  None of us will make it out of this life alive.  Our hope is that we will be re-born into eternal life.

If God loved us so much that He sent His son to live with us, we can all be assured that He will not abandon us.  As 2021 comes upon us, I pray that it truly will be a year of our Lord.  May our longings be answered, our hearts be healed, and our nation be restored with unity and prosperity for all.

Merry, Merry Christmas.