In the past, I normally would have had my tree up and my house looking like Christmas threw up in it. From the moment you enter, you would have been inundated with reindeer, multiple Christmas Snoopys, music boxes, Santas, baby Jesus scenes and a colorful mish-mash of Christmas fun in every nook and cranny - and before Thanksgiving!
This year, I'm behind my own game. But the internal celebration is deep, joyful, and gearing up for the external manifestation of what my heart knows it's all about. That Jesus is Lord. I'm incredibly thankful for the reason for the season. I love telling people Merry Christmas as I'm focused on the Christ part of Christmas. And I pray daily to shine bright in the midst of life's very real challenges and opportunities as I smile and choose joy, because of who He is in my life.
I am also aware that I am faced with choices - like every year - on whether I focus on the pain of past Decembers or on the joy that Christmas is meant to be.
Do I focus on spreading cheer, giving a hug, and sharing an encouraging word?
Or do I think of my mom's journey with cancer and her death?
Do I celebrate my birthday because I LOVE LOVE LOVE birthdays?
Or do I focus on my nephew's too soon passing and memorial?
Do I celebrate my daughter's birthday and decorate her personal party table as I've always done?
Or, do I get lost in the sadness over the Christmas of 2012 that went horribly wrong from a family conflict, leaving me celebrating Christmas, again, without my family being together?
How do I choose the joy that the Christmas story brings- to us a Savior is born - and share the space with grief at remembering loved ones that are gone? Can I truly feel happy, while hurting over moments that changed a season from togetherness to ones of separation?
That is my choice.
One I'm blessed and at peace to make, once again.
So I celebrate my birthday with gratitude, thanking God for another year I get to be here and enjoy my one life. And love my husband, children, and friends well. Or write books. Or paint pictures. Or mentor those who desire to grow personally and spiritually.
I surprise my grown daughter with another table full of her favorite things, celebrating another year of her life.
And I excitedly choose the joy of Christmas.
C H R I S T mas... praising God, reflecting on Jesus, putting up my tree, decorating the house, cooking, baking, exchanging gifts, and looking forward to opening all the colorful presents on Christmas day!
I also remember my mom. I remember fondly my nephew. I pray for those I know that are hurting and going through their own loss and struggle, and I find joy running parallel with grief as I embrace both.
I pray for you and yours a beautiful Christmas as you too may have to dance with joy and pain, and choose for yourself what this holiday season will be. Sending you hugs!! Merry Christmas!
Love and Blessings,