Gratitude Day 547

Mon., Dec. 28, 2020

Luke 2:19 – But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant.

On Christmas Day, I realized that the day was not going to turn out how I had anticipated. Expected. Visualized.

Even after I had kept my expectations low.

Hubby Rick and I didn’t plan much for the day. We knew the best plans for the day were to plan very little. Yet, unexpectedly, the plans we did have changed. It wasn’t the end of the world. We could be fine celebrating the day simply as the Savior’s birth.

Our day felt so simple compared to what I saw others share.  

We had no matching pj’s.

The number of plates around our table were greatly reduced from our “normal” Christmas gathering.

The bottom of our tree remained bare because Rick and I do not exchange gifts. We opt to “buy” gifts for needy families, long ago purchased, wrapped and delivered.

In my head, I knew this holiday was going to be different. It needed to be. And should be. Yet, in all honestly, the lack of “magnifico-ness” left me underwhelmed.

Yes, we were part of a cast who stood outside in sub-zero temperatures on Christmas Eve night recreating the nativity, set in a rustic “stable” with real animals.

Yes, we had a lovely ZOOM with several cousins and my sisters.

Yes, I took a nap Christmas afternoon while Rick and our nephew Kevin went ice fishing.

Yes, I still made the impressive Baked Alaska dessert.

It wasn’t a bad day. It wasn’t an awful day. It was just an OK day.

This has been a year filled with lots of OK moments. And less than OK moments. While in my heard and my heart, I knew a lack-luster Christmas would be the ticket, I still felt a bit cheated.

I really wanted to be OK with an OK Christmas. But part of me wanted just a wee bit more.

Until the light switched on and I realized that I already had much more than just a wee bit. I have a warm house to come home to after being outside dressed as shepherd with plenty of warm clothes while others would spend the entire night in the bitter cold in less than adequate covering.

I had plenty of perfectly cooked food to share on Christmas Day along with people I love while special family members watched via computer us eat this beautiful meal.

I have warm blankets to crawl under when I am chilly and warm coffee to cradle in my hands.

I have the smell of a freshly cut tree with twinkling white lights that brighten the dark of the night and remind me that the light of the world has arrived in the form of a human being.

And so much, much, much more. More than I can ever fully describe and ever appreciate.

We put so much expectation on certain events in our lives. We want them to be “perfect” when perfect really isn’t possible. We yearn for photographs of our reality to be better than those we see posted by other people. We long for only joy-filled moments in which everything turns out “just right.”

Yet, this certainly is not most folk’s reality. Especially in the year of a worldwide pandemic.

Instead, we might get OK. Or a couple steps better than OK. Or even a few steps worse than OK.

I doubt that when Mary envisioned giving birth to her first baby, she expected delivery would happen in a barn. Or that his first visitors would be the smelly, low-life shepherds who straggled in from the nearby pastures. Certainly, Mary could not have chosen a trough as her child’s cradle or hay as his blanket.

I’m not sure whether the reality of these events were OK in Mary’s eyes or not. But they are what happened.

Here’s the amazing thing: even though Jesus’ birth and the event surrounded it could easily be labeled as OK or worse, Mary didn’t see it this way at all. No, we’re told that Mary treasured every single little detail of Jesus’ birth and often wondered why events unfolded the way they did. Rather than expecting everything to be just so, Mary welcomed the OK-ness of the night and knew there were important lessons to learn. She challenged herself to explore why these lessons were so important and necessary. For her. For her Son.

I pray that you’ve had a wonderful holiday. Just in case yours was more OK, I pray we WILL treasure these days and allow space to ponder what little life lessons we can discover through them.

Sometimes OK is good enough. Life cannot always be a series of magnifico events. But it can be full of OK situations that when strung together create a life with meaning, lessons and love. And then, it is magnifico.

For begin OK with OK, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Dear God – It is so easy to get caught up in wanting to have what others seem to “have.” We easily play the comparison game and feel we are the perpetual losers. Yet, Lord God, we’re already winners when we know Jesus as the Light of the World in our lives. Mary was OK with unexpected events in her life. I pray we can be as well. Amen.

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