Dr. Josh and Christi Straub, authors of 25 Days of the Christmas Story, talk about what Advent looks like for their family, especially in a year when family celebrations will be different.
The video is above, and the entire transcript is below.
CHRISTI: You know this Christmas is going to look different for a lot of us. Every year we celebrate Christmas with my big Canadian family. We have a house full, with grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins filling up every room. It is the time of year we look forward to All. Year. Long.
JOSH: But since the borders remain closed, we’re not sure we’re going to get to see any of our family this Christmas. We recently sat down with our kids, and we had to deliver the really hard news to them.
CHRISTI: At first our kids tried to come up with solutions. Then, as the reality sunk in, they started to cry. Honestly, that’s exactly what I did too. I protested, and I tried to come up with solutions only to realize there were none, not this year.
JOSH: Likely, we’ll all be grieving something this Christmas—the loss of a favorite Christmas concert, or maybe that Christmas parties will look very different, or maybe it’s something as silly as seeing our kids sitting on Santa’s lap. But it’s not silly when it comes to grieving something that we’ve lost. In fact, grieving is necessary for us to find joy on the other side.
CHRISTI: We knew we had to all process what we were feeling. So we sat down one night with our kids and we just asked them to draw a picture of it. We talked about our hard feelings—the ones we don’t like to feel—the loneliness, the fear, disappointment. Then, while we were feeling the sadness, we asked them to draw a picture of Jesus with them in that situation. You should have seen their faces light up.
JOSH: Because isn’t that exactly what Christmas is all about? Immanuel, God with us. The One who came to bring us hope in the middle of our current situation. As our kids hung their picture on the refrigerator, we saw a visible change in their countenance with Jesus in the picture. So we had them write the word HOPE across the top of the drawing in big, bold letters.
CHRISTI: We took permission to grieve our losses, because they matter, but instead of remaining focused on what we’ve lost, we started to ask one another, “What is God showing us this Christmas?” Because no matter what it looks like, He’s God with us, hands full of hope, and [He has] something new to teach us this Christmas.