I look forward to the holidays. Around this time of year, I wish we could just take off of EVERYTHING and concentrate on only those things that bring enjoyment. Having unrealistic expectations seems to be a constant theme for me lately.
This year Christmas has felt a little different. We are smack dab in the middle of our transition with Eli. It has been difficult for me lately -- in ways that I don't even know how to articulate very well. I run a small business...Billy is starting a large business...we have lots of children who love being involved in life (and rarely love cleaning up after life happens)...we have far less resources at our disposal than in year's past...I miss my extended family whom I haven't seen in a year and 1/2 (it's being at my Grandmother's during the holidays that gives me that "holiday feeling")...my little sis has had 2 children I've yet to meet...and I've even found myself revisiting the sadness of my father dying in a car accident almost 10 year ago. We feel alot of stress at the moment. Billy and I both feel tired. I feel fragile...much more emotional than I normally am. A sweet friend today said, "You sound like a first time parent." She couldn't have been more accurate as to how I'm feeling. My lack of confidence in parenting Eli has caught me off guard. However, this blog isn't about Eli.
This Christmas season has still seemed, well..."Christmasy". Not in a "merry" sort of way...but I've definately sensed God's sweet presence with us. Life this past year has not gone smoothly...therefore...I don't expect that Christmas go perfectly either. Infact, I know it won't. I'm ok with that. However, here's a short list of things I've just reminded myself that I know too....
- Christmas is about the night when God sent hope to the hopeless. I've been a Christian more than 1/2 my life -- yet I must confess that I still feel a sense of hopelessness from time to time when life's stress is more than I think I can bear. God sent Jesus that night for me...just for me. We couldn't have made it this far without a belief that regardless of life's circumstances, His love is sure and never fails.
- Christmas is a time to celebrate the love that lives inside you and me. Getting my mind off myself by giving this love away -- is a good idea.
- That quiet, calm night, God broke through the darkness with light -- dazzling light. He breaks through mine too...often when I'm "still, knowing He is God". I'm a lover of that moment. Really, I can't express enough how much I love a moment where God shows up and comes through. To have that moment -- I also have to have the experience that brings me there.
- "Doing" Christmas this year - with less resources than I've had in the past -- on top of everything else - has required a certain amount of courage out of me...I have proven I can be brave.
- My love language is "Quality Time" which means what I really desire this time of year is time to spend with the Lord and time with my family. To make this happen, there are other things I need to give up in the future. Next year, if I don't invite you over -- it's because my house is a wreck -- I'm making time to read my Bible instead of picking up. Next year, instead of getting a Christmas Card from me -- I'll be praying for you instead. :)
We have been in a time of stretching and growth. Those words are always bittersweet. BITTERSWEET. At any given moment -- in an emotional sense -- I look like I've just completed a hard, long workout. My faith feels truly worked out and it has felt like this for quite sometime. Actually, the faith of my whole little family is getting worked out. I can only believe that God is headed someplace in all that we are doing --- the words of this blog infact is proof of my trust and faith -- after all I'm still here walking the narrow road He's called me to walk...and I have hope.