And they will call him Immanuel which means, God with us. Matthew 1:23 (NIV)
I often make the mistake of assuming that just because things are a certain way now, means that they will always be or always have been that way. For example, I wrote a scene in my novel that revolved around cattle egrets only to be corrected by a sharp eyed knowledgeable reader that those birds were imported to Florida in the 1940s. It is a good thing he let me know as I was writing about the 1840s, a hundred years earlier. Some things haven’t changed over time. The kids hang their stockings on the mantel, and we put the tree in the same corner each year. Everyone comes to our house for Christmas dinner. That is the way we have done things in the past, but I cannot assume that we will always celebrate that way in the future. I thought about those cattle egrets and how I make assumptions when I bought Christmas cards on my lunch break today. Buying them half price for next year, I save a lot of money, but there is a good deal of presumption getting them a full twelve months before I need them. How do I know that next year I will have one hundred friends and family to send them to? I may lose some in the coming months. Hopefully, not because I offend or loose touch, but death is a certain reality to consider. What if this time next year, I have suffered a loss that makes it difficult for me to celebrate in my lavish usual way? For that matter, how do I know I will be able to afford the cost of stamps to mail cards? I have held the same job for many years, but in these times of economic uncertainty, who knows where I might find myself working next year? Can a greeter at Wal-Mart stretch their budget to buy stamps? I can add technology to the mix. Though I love a full post office box, this year, my e-mail in box held almost as many cards. With the popularity of e-cards on the upswing, perhaps, there will come a time I will join those ranks of people who send a greeting with a simple push of a button. Another thing to think about. How do I even know that this time next year, those boxes of cards will still be where I can find them? Some kind of disaster could strike my house and they will be destroyed. We had a light hurricane season this year. Does that mean that next year will be THE YEAR OF THE BIG ONE? I could worry myself silly over the purchase of those simple cards. Then, I look at them one more time. The message I will send out next year is: “’And they will call him Immanuel which means, God with us.’” No matter what 2008 brings, that is truth that I can stand upon. Egrets may come and go, but God is always with us.