Ready or not, willing or unwilling, the season to celebrate has arrived. For so much of 2020, celebrating has been the last thing on my mind. I have had long talks with God, asking Him if He is listening. So many people in my family have had COVID-19, and yes, we lost a couple of people in my extended family. My mother has also been ill with the virus. So many long nights I paced, unable to sleep, knowing that I was powerless to help her.

My friends stepped up, though, because most family members were also ill. But those family members who were able also pitched in. By the time Thanksgiving was upon us, most people in my family had recovered. I felt more thankful about life in general than I had in a very long time, no longer taking “life” for granted.

Separated from my family and long-term friends, here comes Christmas. It’s different this year, but that doesn’t change the reason for the season of Advent. We celebrate the birth of Christ, the one who humbled Himself, who left Heaven to become human. He became our guide, an example for what we should and should not do.

The Guide is still here, in our hearts and in Heaven. And after the weariest year I have known, the stars and planets align, reminding us that the Lord’s light shines for us. Through last night’s Texas clouds, the star that guided God’s people more than 2000 years ago reminds us to be thrilled with hope.

For all my friends who have trigeminal neuralgia, please remember that hope exists. Love is stronger than pain and longer lasting than any illness. Rejoice.

Merry Christmas.