By Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 12/11/14

My Christmas has been derailed. I was moving along at a pretty good pace, checking things off my list, and feeling satisfied with my progress. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I made a good dent in my Christmas list by clicking “Place My Order” on Amazon, Steve hauled all the Christmas boxes down from the attic, and I decked the walls, mantel, and tables with Christmas decorations. During the first week in December, I put the finishing touches on plans for the Elf Workshop, began preparations for the Family Night Christmas Party, and ordered my family’s Christmas cards.
 
Last weekend, my Christmas train left the tracks! I have been sick with fever and a wicked cough for the last four days and all things Christmas have been put on hold. I had to miss the beautiful cantata, “Canticle of Joy,” on Sunday morning and the always-festive Deacon’s Dinner on Sunday night. I feel like Christmas is continuing on without me. I mustered up enough energy to choose a Christmas tree from the Farmers’ Market (no tromping through the rain for the perfect tree at the Christmas tree farm) but it stands empty and unadorned in our living room.
 
Sometimes Christmas gets derailed. It may be the flu, or maybe the death of a loved one, or a serious diagnosis from the doctor that causes a halt to the Christmas spirit. It might be a temporary derailment (as mine is sure to be) or it might last longer. Even when your personal Christmas gets derailed and you can’t feel the joy that the season usually brings, the Christ child is still born in a manger, salvation still enters the world, and God’s gift of hope is still for everyone—even those of us whose Christmas has been derailed.