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Ten years

I should be out walking my dogs before I go to school, but I'm hoping it will warm up a degree or so in the next thirty minutes.

On the weekend, we had our kids home to decorate our Christmas tree. One of my sons insists on keeping up the tradition of us decorating thw tree together, and I'm happy about that. They love to decorate in as haphazard a manner as possible. I threaten them yearly that if no one comes home to decorate the tree, I will have a "Martha Stewart Tree." No one wants that, so there we were on Saturday evening, decorating. I have a Batman figurine as a tree topper.

That tradition has not changed, but so much has in the past ten years. It was ten years ago that my daughter went away to university; the first one to fly the coop. So much has changed since then. Our two boys followed and left for school as well. It got easier in some ways, but harder in others. Young people with busy lives mean fewer visits. They are in the process of moving away from us, so they have their own schedules and responsibilities. That's the way it's meant to be.

When I look at where we all were ten years ago, I see how we have all changed. I never thought ten years ago that I would be here, on this day, planning to drive to school and write a Greek vocabulary quiz or coming home later to work on a paper about Hildegard. My children are all done school, one is married, and they're on their own. Adult children are wonderful. They bring food when they come, or they bake some while they are here. They dog sit when you want to go away for a night. But parents of adults have to be careful not to interfere, so one thing that has changed is that we must know when to speak and when to listen. We must accept that our children will make decisions we don't like. And we must be okay with that. We must love them no matter how we feel about their decisions.

As I was driving home from school on Tuesday, listening to some of the same Christmas carols I have been listening to since I was a child, I was comforted by the fact that Christmas comes every year. People put up their lights in the neighbourhood, Sunday school classes prepare presentations, and stores are busy with shoppers. For Christians, it is a time of reflection the Incarnation of Christ. I'm so thankful we observe Christmas. As the winter settles in and the cold weather comes upon us, with daylight fading away earlier, it's a warm comfort to remember that God has not changed, that he is sovereign, and that he loved us enough to send his son in the form of a human baby. 

I don't particularly like change. I take comfort in routine and familiarity. Of course, I adapt to change, because what else is there to do? But it takes a while. As I look at our Christmas tree and take pleasure in its familiar ornaments (Batman notwithstanding; he wasn't there last year), I am reminded of the consistency of the seasons, and how they remind us of the never changing nature of God. Christmas may not be what we would like, with all of the effort to take Christ out of it. But God remains unchanging, and whatever changes we face, we know God is with us. 

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