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December issue sneak-peek

This article, authored by James Aderman, was written with Christmas in mind, but many of the thoughts can apply to Thanksgiving as well.

It was a strange Christmas Eve. A sad Christmas Eve. A disappointing Christmas Eve. But it also had the potential to be the best Christmas Eve ever.

I’m thinking of the first Christmas Eve my wife and I experienced as empty nesters. That night the nest felt especially empty. Our daughters were with their families, hours away from our home. We were alone.

When we arrived home after worship, there was no scurry to set out snacks in the living room. There was no daughter laughter. No hugs. No anticipation about the gifts under the tree. No celebration of the love my family shares. Absent was the joy and excitement that made Christmas Eve our “most wonderful time of the year.”

However, the night had the potential to help us create a new empty-nest tradition, one we could treasure for decades to come.

But we created nothing.

Rather than sitting together in the living room in the glow of the tree lights, Sharon and I sat in the television room bathed in big screen LED light. We opened no presents. We didn’t regale each other with cherished holiday memories.

We could have launched new Christmas Eve traditions. We could have opened albums with Christmas photos and celebrated the blessings God has given us in our children. We could have invited others who, like us, were without family. We could have taken couple-time with the Christmas story: reading it, talking about it, praying over it. We could have used Christmas Eve to sharpen our focus on Christ’s birth. We could have. But we didn’t.

We didn’t because we did not prepare for that evening. We didn’t use the days before to talk about our sense of loss or the options we could explore. We didn’t identify our new opportunities and plan ways to capture them.

Christmas 2020 has the potential to shatter your treasured holiday traditions. COVID-19 may threaten the ways we have celebrated Jesus’ birth in the past. The grief of death and divorce may destroy your Christmas customs. Job loss may package frustration, not presents, beneath your Christmas tree.

The solution? Learn from what Sharon and I should have done.

Keep reading to find out what Aderman suggests you should do to prepare for a holiday that may be different than those in years past. Laurie Gauger-Hested also offers her perspective on this topic in the same column.

Avie and Paul

Snowden Sims shared the story of Avie and Paul in his November editorial for Forward in Christ.

Avie and Paul (pictured) started dating years after their spouses died. They began sitting in church together. Members just smiled as they realized what was happening. . . .

I married them in August of 2012. The joy they shared was evident. . . . They were constantly joking with each other and holding hands wherever they went.

Read more about Avie and Paul in Sims' editorial titled Wedded widows and widowers.

Sims photo

Have you read these articles from the November issue?

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