Monday, January 4, 2021
Two days ago our house was filled with anticipation. The family had gathered to celebrate Christmas. It was a week later than normal, but we’ve come to expect that things will not be normal.
Each family arrived with boxes and bins packed with presents that had been carefully selected to express love and fulfill a dream. There were gifts for our five dollar exchange game we play. There were gifts for the grandchild name exchange. There were gifts from Grandpa and Grandma for each the children and grandchildren. There were gifts from the children to us.
After lunch, as we prepared for the giving of gifts, my mind started reviewing my on-line wish list. I wondered what I would receive. It was obvious from their responses to seeing their gift that others had done the same. Shouts of “It’s just what I wanted” were normal.
My gifts were not normal. My expectations were exceeded. My family went above and beyond the list to touch my heart. The gifts I received spoke love to me. They were not just gifts from a list, but gifts that showed me they knew me.
As we sat down for our Christmas dinner that evening, I could not control my emotions. I walked out of the kitchen as the family proceeded through the buffet line. I needed a moment to have a little joy-induced cry. I thought of all the threats to normal life that surround us, and I praised God and my Savior Jesus Christ that He is our Stronghold. He is our Defender. He is the Lover of our souls. There is nothing normal about Him, and yet everything about Him produces the perfect normal.
We are all filled with anticipation that life may someday be normal again. But my need for that dream to be fulfilled is fading. It is being replaced with a new normal. I have discovered that the perceived benefits of normal in the past cannot be compared to the eternal benefits of living solely within the context of God’s gifts. As I observed my family on Saturday, I was convinced that while nothing in the world seems normal, the sharing of love is the normal I want.