If nothing else, I would say about myself that I am steeped in tradition – especially during the holidays. It’s always the same – a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup before going to church Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, my family gathers for a champagne toast at noon followed by eggs benedict for around 30 of us. My brother and I always do a taste-testing of our grandmother’s hollandaise sauce for just the right amount of lemon before serving. And, when the kids ask me why we do all this, I smile and say, “Because for five generations, it’s always been this way. It binds us together.” But not this year.

It’s worried me, made me anxious and sad, that there wouldn’t be that same “Christmas warmth” I long for all year. The closeness of my family, the deep awe of God’s presence that I feel in our candle-lit sanctuary on Christmas Eve, Alex Goering singing O Holy Night. Now, everything will be different. What will it be like? Our Christmas toast by Zoom? What?! Yet, we move forward and know we’ll be shown another way to be together. Of that I am certain.

I think about the time when over the phone, ages ago and a very long distance away, my mother once interrupted me mid-sentence with, “Barbie, you’re not happy. Come home.” I still hear her voice and am always comforted. Come home. And I knew – even as Mary and Joseph and the Magi had to find another way home, we too, will navigate a new way to be together at Christmas this year. On Christmas Eve, we’ll join with our whole congregation as we stream the Christmas Eve service and welcome the Christ child with open hearts and joy. On Christmas morning I’ll deliver a batch of hollandaise sauce to the doorstep of each family, waving our love to one another, and yes, we’ll Zoom our Christmas toast this year. All of this unchartered and still, I am ever more certain that this holy tie which binds us together can never be broken.