Christmas Plans

“It’s all a part of the plan… more or less” – my nephew

Path to the top of a dormant volcano above Calavera Lake in California

I had an amazing Christmas. We took our six-person family to Oceanside, CA. My wife and I ran up a dormant volcano, our kids played in the Ocean, our whole family went to Legoland, and we had a traditional Christmas Eve cheese fondue dinner. It was a great holiday.

There were also some unplanned rough patches. Everyone got the flu. We had rented a 15 person van for our 14 person party, and at some point, at least 3 members of our group vomited in the van. Our 3 year-old and 5 year-old both soaked their clothes in the ocean at a moment when we didn’t have spare outfits, and had to borrow clothes from the adults.

But – the holiday was amazing, and some of the most magical moments were unplanned.

It feels like a pretty common thing to think about detailed plans for Christmas and the New Year. It can even be a big source of stress.

This year, more than any other, I found myself reflecting on how far the first Christmas was from Joseph and Mary’s plans.

I’m old enough to have some idea how upset I would have been, telling my wife we had to walk 95 miles to a different city in her third trimester, because of a government requirement that happened to fall during that month. Or that the plan I had for a hotel wasn’t going to work. Or that we were going to sleep in barn. Oh – and, by the way, the plans I’d made to take care of her during the delivery of her first child had all fallen through. I would have been completely full of panic.

That string of plans falling through is the story we celebrate during Christmas. Because it all worked out, and because the details–unplanned as they were–were an amazing gift.

Anyway – in the midst of the stress of the holidays, or of everyday life, may we remember that the unplanned and difficult moments or unforeseen obstacles are sometimes amazing gifts.

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