Think of your fondest Christmas memories. Who comes to mind? What were you doing? If you received a special gift, why was it so important? Are family members central to these memories?
For me, this Christmas is again bittersweet. Two of my children, and my three grandchildren, will be celebrating Christmas hundreds of miles away. Visions of my own children baking and decorating cookies, making homemade gifts, and waking early on Christmas morning, play dimly in my memory. Was it really that long ago? Where has the time gone?
The only thing that is constant in this life is change. Children will grow, parents will grow older, loved ones will move, drift away or die. Just because change is inevitable doesn't make it easier to embrace when it arrives.
We need to savor the moments we have. We need to be grateful for today, for the present, because it is still filled with memories yet to be made, people still to be loved and gifts yet to be opened and embraced.
My son created a short video, Savor Every Moment, that I think captures this thought visually in just a few short minutes. See if it doesn't stir your heart.
My parents are still close by, relatively healthy and involved in our lives. I want to savor my time with them. I have siblings, nieces and nephews and good friends to share Christmas cheer with. I want to enjoy my time with them.
I have the opportunity to notice others who are struggling this year with loss, loneliness and sorrow, and I can choose to look beyond myself and offer kindness, friendship and hope. These are moments that I can savor.
As long as I am embracing the present, I am living in Emmanuel moments - God with us. He is here in the present offering love, peace, hope and compassion. He is present to me through the arms and words of others. He can be present to others through the gestures and kindness that I offer. These are moments to be savored.
What moments will you savor this holiday season? How will you reach beyond your own disappointments and struggle to share hope and compassion with others? What new memories will you create and savor?