I grew up in a large family and Thanksgiving and Christmas was huge! We had lots of family around, especially as we four girls got married and began having children. All of us would at one time or another gather at Mom and Dad's house for food and presents. There was a lot of noise, a lot of really good food and the occasional annoyance from one or more people. But that's family, right?
Twenty three years ago, my husband and I left the family fold and moved from Texas to Washington. The holidays became more difficult because our families were in Texas and we were here all alone. But we tried hard to make our own memories with our family as it grew.
Here's another part of the problem . . . I live in the Northwest. Winter is long . . . dark . . . gloomy . . . wet . . . and did I mention long? I get so tired of the dreariness and the rain. Did I mention it is dark? The sun doesn't rise until almost 7:30 am and it is dark by 4:30 pm. I have a childhood friend who lives near Fairbanks, Alaska and I have no idea how she survives! Betty, how do you do it?
This is our twenty-third Christmas season in the Northwest. You would think I would have adjusted by now. However, between the lack of family, the dreary weather, and often limited finances, I have come to dread the holidays. Add to that family members recently lost, and I'm having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit.
The other day I was in the car running errands and all of the radio stations are playing Christmas music already. As I listened to the words of a familiar Christmas carol, I realized there is much more I could be focusing on rather than what I do not have; because frankly, I have much more to be grateful for than I have to wish for.
So this is my plan - no, this is my goal: I'm going to spend the month of December focusing on the Scriptures and songs that speak of the promised Messiah and the birth of Jesus. The angels, the wise men, Joseph and Mary . . . what were they thinking, feeling? How did they react to the revelation that Messiah had come?
Perhaps as I focus on the promise it will help me adjust to the loss . . . and I prayerfully hope that it speaks to you as well.
'Tis the season . . . right?
"For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:10b, 11