Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas, My Friends

Merry Christmas!

I'm sitting in the quiet - well, somewhat quiet, as we wait for the family to arrive for all that this day brings.  We've got carols playing and the coffee is hot and we were just able to have a quick video chat with Matteo in China.  

It's strange to not have him here, but it's ok.  We're a church worker family so Christmas has always been about everyone being someplace different and arriving at staggered times and then naps once they having a son on a different continent is just a little like that.

Sort of.


This season has been so much harder than usual.  It's me...and I know that.  I just keep waiting for that 'feeling' to come...the feeling of Christmas.  The warmth, the joy, the peace.

I realize much of that is the timing of the actual holiday this year...working through Friday and then boom, here it is!  But still, I've been waiting.

There have been so many parties this year and each one has gotten more and more there has been much good.  The gifts are all wrapped and under the tree and this year there was a conscious effort to keep things simple and smaller...every few years I notice that Christmas gifts begin getting bigger and bigger and we (as in me) need to dial it down.  That this family of mine has everything they need and don't need piles and piles of more things.  

But I do love to spoil everyone just a bit with something they've had their eye on....whether they need it or not, simply because it's fun.


But this year I've been waiting.  And waiting.  Waiting for that 'feeling' to come...the feeling of Christmas.  The feeling of being little again and sitting at my Grandparents with all my cousins. Of the smells and sounds and sights of Christmas past.

But things change when you become the Matriarch of Christmas present.   And the change isn't bad...but the change does bring a bit more organization.  And a bit more menu planning.

And then last night, while sitting in church, I realized.  I'm waiting for a feeling to come...but Christmas is not about a feeling.  Christmas is about faith...and faith alone.  Faith is knowing and trusting and believing without seeing or feeling.

I still want the feeling...but I want the knowing a whole lot more.

This past season has been harder than any other we've walked through.  We haven't shared and we won't, but the last few months have just been hard.  We hold hands, we pray, and we wait...we wait for life to become a little easier.  And still, God continues to throw down hurdle after hurdle after hurdle and then to top it off, there've been walls for us to climb over.  

And we do, one step at a time.  

I think of Peter in the boat and of Jesus holding out his hand and telling him to trust.  That if he does, all will go well and he will not sink.  And so Peter begins to walk and rather than having faith, he begins to doubt and starts to sink...and then Jesus grabs him and all is ok.  But first he gives him a reminder that his savior is always there.

And through this valley we've been trudging through...the one that has felt very long and very dark, we know that Jesus is gently guiding us.  That he is standing, hand out, asking us to trust.

But sometimes, it's just plain hard.

I'm trying to focus on the lights.  And the smells.  And the sounds...because woah, the music has been glorious this year.  Quieter than usual, and that seems fitting. 

My human brain continues to settle into the negatives though and that makes me ashamed because I do know better.  I have so much to be thankful for but it's just been easier to sit in the ugly...even at this beautiful time of year.

And yet there is so much joy and so much laughter and so. many. cookies.

Because as we all know, cookies make everything better.


Merry Christmas, my friends.  

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