He’ll Find You

  
One Christmas when I was very small my parents told us that we were going to spend the holiday with our grandparents. This was a new and exciting thing for me. We always spent a few weeks in the summer with them in Texas, but we’d never been there for Christmas. I began to imagine how fun this was going to be! I’d get to see all my Texas aunts and uncles and to play with my cousins. And, of course, spending time with my grandparents was a great treat. Since we rarely got to see them, they completely indulged us with treats and attention. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became about our trip.  

But, wait a minute. Just hold on a minute here. If I was in Texas instead of Georgia, how would Santa Claus ever find me? How would he know to bring all the toys I’d asked for to my grandparents’ house? More than fifty years later, I fully remember the horror and the panic of that moment. My mother assured me that Santa would find me and that I shouldn’t worry about it. She could usually put any of my fears to rest, but this time, I just wasn’t sure she knew what she was talking about. I kept on worrying about it. I fretted on the car trip out there and for the days leading up to Christmas morning. All the fun I’d anticipated having on this special trip was tainted by that nagging voice in my head: “Will Santa find me? Will he still bring me my toys?” Of course he did find me and he brought me all I’d asked for and more. I’d like to say that I realized Christmas wasn’t about getting toys from Santa, and that I’d ruined the time with my Texas family because of my greedy little heart. But I was only five years old and at the time all I cared about was presents.  

I’d like to say also that I never again allowed myself to be distracted from the real meaning of Christmas—but that wouldn’t be true either. I found it easy, and even great fun, to be caught up in the materialism of a worldly Christmas. It was too many useless gifts, too many frantic activities, and too much exhaustion at the end of the day. It was only when I’d begun to reclaim Advent in my life that Christmas became more spiritual and much less material. I don’t know why I resisted the Church’s teaching on Advent for so long. I wanted to put the Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving and shop until I dropped at every spare moment. I didn’t want to waste a festive minute on prayer or reflection, much less on fasting or charitable works. I wanted to rush right into Christmas and then be completely worn out and a little depressed on December 26.  

These days, I’ve learned to savor every moment leading up to HIs birth. I re-read favorite devotions and Scripture. I spend time in Advent, rather than just money. And I’ve recognized that Christmas BEGINS on December 25 and lasts those famous “12 Days” until January 6 and the Feast of the Epiphany when we celebrate the coming of the Wise Men. I hope you and your family embrace the season of Advent and, as it draws to a close, that you’re prepared to welcome the Christ Child into your heart. I hope you take the time for prayer and reflection and make the most of moments shared with your family and friends. And remember what my mother told me on that Christmas in Texas: Don’t worry. He’ll always find you.

“Who among us will celebrate Christmas correctly? Whoever finally lays down all power, reputation, honor, vanity, and arrogance beside the manger. Whoever remains lowly and lets God alone be high.”

     —–Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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