Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is the world’s largest Christmas store, and is located in Frankenmuth, Michigan. It has every type of ornament and Christmas item imaginable. Jim Shore? Got it. Thomas Kincade? Got it. Hummel’s? Got them. Want a glass Big Foot ornament? They got it. Need a professional $999 Santa Suit? They got it. Must have a pink and purple unicorn stocking (what does that have to do with Christmas? I have no idea, but…) They got it. Harry Potter fans need a “Hogwarts Great Hall & Tower” for your Christmas village. For $299, they got it. How about a “Bob-Ross-with-Pallet” Nutcracker? They got it.
Every year, Karla and I make the trek to Frankenmuth to get our boys (and their wives) an ornament for their tree (The District Pastor’s Christmas Dinner is held in Frankenmuth at Zehender’s Restaurant this coming Monday, so we will be in Bronner’s on Monday afternoon). Usually the ornament has something to do with some happening of that year. When Alex and Blaire bought their first home, we purchased an ornament commemorating that event. The year our family went to Italy, we got them ornaments in reference to that very special trip. I’m sure this year, we will get one about a baby-on-the-way. You get the idea.
If you were to go to Bronner’s shopping for an ornament that best characterized your 2022, what ornament would you purchase? Have you had a defining moment in your life this year? Was there a special trip or a milestone of some kind to celebrate and remember?
What if you truthfully say: “I have nothing good to remember from 2022. It’s been a hard and horrible year.” Not only was there no special trip and the kids or grandkids did nothing spectacular, but the year was full of grief and heartache. What if looking back on this year brings tears not cheers? Could you buy an ornament at Bronner’s?
Now, I don’t know if they have such ornaments (they have everything imaginable so maybe they do), but maybe your ornament would be something engraved saying:
A rotten, terrible, very bad year…
it was for years like this…
that Jesus came.
Maybe it’s a little long for an ornament, but it’s true.
The Good News of Christmas, of course, has nothing to do with unicorns, big foot or anything from Harry Potter. Instead, Christmas celebrations are a reminder of the simple truth that God is with us. In good years and bad, God is with us. When on the mountain top or in the valley, God is with us. Maybe the 2022 ornament should be a mountain as a reminder that when at the top of the mountain looking down or at the bottom of the mountain looking up, God is always with us.