Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another Christmas Behind Me...

I made it through another holiday season.  I didn’t shed a single public tear.  People don’t want to hear about loss or watch you grieve when everything is so festive.  The grieving are dark spirits in a season of laughter and light. 

Christmas has been extraordinarily hard for me for many years.  I buried my father on Christmas Eve.  I was so overwhelmed the first Christmas without my husband, that I loaded up my children and ran away to a warm, tropical location.  Frankly, we just skipped Christmas that year.  The second year it was financially impractical for us to go away and this year logistics and work schedules didn’t give us a window of escape.

Steve's Tree
And so, we marched on with our traditions and festivities.  I decorated a tree just for Steve and lit a candle for him to burn through the holiday.  The family tree is especially hard…for each ornament is a time capsule…a season of each of our children’s lives, a place we have been…or special events...all good memories.  But wonderful memories can be the hardest ones this time of year.
Memory Candle

But memories are all we have now and I refuse to run away from them…for they are the things I treasure most. 

Family Tree
God gave me the gift of a wonderful husband who was a loving and supportive father to his sons.  Christmas is a time to be thankful for gifts.

Thank you, God, for my time with Steve.

Thank you most of all for your gift of Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Losing Something

I have a lovely pair of 28 carat gold earrings that my father-in-law brought back to me from Saudi Arabia early in my marriage.  The earrings are simple and beautiful…and for many years, I wore them exclusively.  

When my late husband finished dental school and we moved to a new city, one earring was lost in the move.  I was heartbroken.  Being a sentimental fool, I saved the remaining earring and put it in my keepsake box.  A year later, while moving from a rental home to our brand new home, I rolled up a rug and there, dangling from the underside was that missing earring!  What good luck!

Years later, at a weekend long soccer tournament, I lost one of those earrings again on the first day of the tournament.  Discovering the loss at the hotel that night, I was again heartbroken.  It rained the whole next day, but soccer play didn't stop.  I walked multiple fields looking for the lost earring with no luck.  On the last day of the tournament, heading back to our car, I spotted something shiny on the ground.  Yes, it was my missing earring.  Serendipity!

Last week, I noticed early in the work day that one of my beloved earrings was again missing.  I had people all over my school looking for my earring.  After several days of fruitless searching, we gave up.  Sadness again.  Sigh.  Then, over the weekend, while taking out the trash, bam…there was my earring…right by the wheel of my car.  How fortune!

It's a joy to find lost things...

In J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Luna Lovegood, seeking to comfort Harry, asserts, “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”  

I lost the love of my life.
How will my love come back to me?
I'm looking forward to the unexpected.


Monday, December 10, 2012

A World of Hurt

The last few weeks have been very difficult for my community.  One of our teens died at school and another in her bed.  One of our school administrators and his daughter were in a tragic car accident last week.  While the child is fine, he still lays in ICU.  Over the weekend, another automobile accident took the lives of two of our teens and another hangs on to life in ICU.

As a teacher in this close-knit community,  I know/knew all these people.  I ache for all the grief and pain these families are going through.  The fact that it comes at Christmas, which should be a time of joy, makes the pain cut even deeper.

As my grandmother used to say, "We are in a world of hurt."

All these well as my own...remind me that life is ephemeral.  We are not promised tomorrow.  We have only today.  Make your today count.

  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Keep the day positive.  Don't let a whine, vent, or negative thing out of your mouth.
  • Look for a beautiful picture to take with your camera phone and preserve a memory.
  • Make a new friend, even if it is the odd man behind you in the check-out line at Wal Mart.
  • Open the door for someone.
  • Say thank you.  A lot. 
  • When you come to the end of the day, count your blessings.  They are far more than you think.

So, when a world of hurt rolls your way, choose to make your day count.  It will definitely make you feel better, and might shine a little light on another's day, too.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Imperfect Christmas

A perfect Christmas does not exist. In a human way of thinking, the place Jesus was born, a cave, a dark stinking cave where animals were kept with the stench of manure, was not a perfect place for the king of mankind to be born. 

We see perfect Christmases portrayed in movies and television. On television and in the movies, we don't often see Christmases where people are grieving, where they have lost homes, jobs, or opportunities. When we find ourselves in dark times, especially at Christmas, we must go back to why Jesus was born. Jesus was not born so we could throw a party. Jesus was born so we could have eternal life. 

Our eternal life is much bigger, infinitely bigger (as in infinity) than anything here on earth. No, we do not have perfect Christmases here on earth. However, in our imperfect Christmases, one perfection still exists. The perfection of Christmas is Christ and His love for us. 

No matter what we face on Christmas, no matter what happens to us at any time, Christ still loves us beyond our comprehension. His love is perfect…just perfect!


This post is borrowed from the Christmas Daily Devotional