Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Christmas Blues

Today the snow falls steady and quiet. White majesty covers everything and I wait for the plow. I could have slept in, but alas I have been awake for hours. The children sleep. The coffee brews. One thing is clear. This will not be the day I had planned in my mind. Too much snow to drive to church safely, so we'll miss the only Sunday this month that we could have worshiped together as a family in our home church. Jay is back from college and Matt is off from work. Can't you just picture the 5 of us sitting together in clean coordinated outfits - with love in our hearts and smiles on our faces... Ok - so they would have grumbled about not sitting with their friends and we probably would not have sung Christmas carols for the 30 minute drive to church, but we would have been together.Yep, this isn't what I was expecting, but in a weird way this reminds me of another Christmas season 21 years ago. Matt was away at boot camp - and did not come home. My parents and my siblings went to California for the holiday and I was stuck at my parents home (which was completely un-decorated for Christmas) alone and sick with the flu! That was a long hard day, but it got better. Six weeks after that Christmas 21 years ago, I was engaged to my best friend. Six months later we were married and living in Florida.

For some people the Christmas season can be painful. The struggle and the sorrow of the last 12 months still happened and no amount of snow angles, chocolate fudge and "grandma got run over by a reindeer" will change that. This Christmas there is still sickness and illness. There are still people searching desperately for work. Homes are still for sale, and dreams remain unfulfilled.  The mail still comes, and so do the bills. Everywhere we look are reminders of relationships that are broken and of people who are gone. There are empty seats at the table - and the reasons why don't matter; the hole is still there. This Christmas there are still too many miles between me and some of the people I love the most. And every Christmas season it's the same thing -in big ways and small ways each of us makes a mental list in our mind - this list contains all the things that the Christmas season should be. Maybe it's the way it use to be, or maybe it's the way we wish it could be. Next we take a quick account of life as we know it, compare the the two and make a judgement about how things are going. That's when it happens. We lose the joy. We forget one of the first things that the angel said in Luke 2 “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone!" 

Jesus is the source of Joy and His joy is for everyone. As much as we are called to remember the joy of that first Christmas morning, we should not forget the joy that is yet to come. With the same measure that I invest in the preparations of this celebration, should I not also be preparing for the next one - that great day when Jesus will return for those whom belong to to Him? Can I for one minute, take a deep breath and look at things with eternal perspective? Can I choose joy - regardless of how I feel?

Dear God - Today I seek your joy. Give me clear eyes with eternal focus. This morning, as we eat french toast and worship as a family in the den, may our worship be found worthy in your eyes. May it bring a smile to your face and joy to my heart. Amen

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