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Monday, Second Week of Advent

For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
--Matthew 17:20

The Art of Not Missing Christmas

In my family, and many others, Christmas has never just been a one-day celebration. Leading up to the 25th there is picking the tree, decorating the house, baking cookies, Advent services at church, shopping, and admiring (or making fun of) the neighbors’ Christmas lights. My sister and cousin have birthdays in December that turn into joint birthday and holiday celebrations and make it so that every Sunday night in December our two families are together.

And this year is the first time that I feel like I am missing Christmas. Hearing about the typical family drama after the Sunday dinners I’ve missed makes me yearn for my grandmother’s famous birthday cakes and my sister constantly blasting Christmas music. Of course, I will be home a few days before Christmas Eve, but not before my grandparents have arrived, and the 25 Days of Christmas on abc Family is almost over and most of the baking, wrapping, and traditions are under way.

It is easy to whine and complain when really all that is left to “look forward to” is finals, but taking a minute to reflect, this experience is two-fold for me. One, it is simply growing up. I am leaving my comfort zone in a bigger and more extended way than I ever have before. Eventually I’ll get used to time away from family and make my own traditions as I learn more and more about myself.

But it is something much more significant too. It is taking a minute each day and recognizing that everything I’m experiencing is happening for a reason. That I am living God’s plan for me.

Missing the traditions that I have come to associate with Christmas does not mean I am missing Christmas. Christmas means reaffirming our faith in Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us. It is not just believing, but knowing that we will be led through our faith. And I am learning and understanding this more than I ever have at home engulfed by annual holiday activities.

-- Sarah Graves ‘16