Sunday, December 27, 2015
I was listening to one of my favorite local ministers on TV this morning. The service ended with a few Christmas carols. It caused me to think. For some reason I didn't hear many carols on Christmas 2015. Oh, sure, there was the church musical and a local radio station playing 24 hours of music, but I didn't hear music in the neighborhood as I have in the past. Maybe the difference is because, for the first time in over 25 years, I didn't spend Christmas in a classroom.
Maybe, I didn't notice the singing because many close to me are going through hardships.
I've been through my own share of hardships and have had a string of about 7 difficult years in a row, hopping from one job to the next. I've also had my share of medical issues. It definitely strengthened my faith.
2015 brought many positive changes. I started the year in such severe pain that, for awhile, it affected my ability to work. Even after I was able to work, my home was in disarray because housework was out of the question. Bills were piling up, too.
Now, things have improved. The house is slowly returning to normal and I have a new, full time job with benefits. My book trilogy, Friends of Scrapbook, Etc. had gone from an eBook trilogy to paperback. Now, that was unexpected.
There was also a wedding in the mix. My son, Adam, married his sweetheart, Ariel. The downstairs is renovated into their own apartment and my household is full of energy.
As for 2016? I am facing it with more confidence than I have had in awhile and am claiming Jeremiah 29:11 as my verse for this year.
I am happy.
I wish good fortune on those around me that are going through their own struggles. May God bless us all with a Happy New Year.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
As a child I saw Christmas as magic, visions of sugarplums--or candy canes--and celebrations. Back in those days, school parties were common. We exchanged gifts, decorated trees, and some years Santa visited the classroom. It was a glorious time.
I also belonged to various clubs. In Girl Scouts we made Christmas gifts, went caroling, and had parties. In some clubs we went caroling in nursing homes, had hot chocolate, and more parties.
Then there was pageant at church. There was the beauty of the white lights and the nativity scene, dressing like an angel and singing "Glory to God in the highest."
As I enter my teens and twenties. Christmas seemed to be about nostalgia, feeling a little lonely and wishing I could be a child again, reliving the magic. Christmas seemed stressful. Commitments were complicated.
Then I became a mother. My child was 3 months old on his first Christmas. I held him in my arms and wondered what his future held. What did God have planned for my child? I held my son and thought about all those Christmas carols, silent night, mother and child. The feelings and emotions of Christmas were more real than I had ever before imagined.
Christmas was no longer about parties, or pageants, or dolls in mangers. It is about flesh and blood, God stepping down in the form of a human child.
I think about that first Christmas with my son, that Christmas when i really began to understand, every time I hear this song Mary, Did You Know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
I had some errands to run last Saturday and scheduled them after the local Christmas parade. I remembered the old days, when going to a Christmas parade was a real event. I loved seeing the streets decorated and children were so excited to see Santa.
This year was different. The decorations along the street were minimal, but even stores and shops didn't appear interested in decorating for the holiday. In fact, the only decorations I saw on Navy Road were in front of a florist shop, the YMCA, and the string of lights around the outside of a tavern.
When I was little, I remember the excitement of walking into a restaurant or store at Christmas and seeing a beautifully decorated tree or holiday display. It makes me sad that future grandchildren will have a lot less to be excited about.
Do I think there is a war on Christmas or that the holiday will someday cease? Of course it won't. There is always a war on all that is spiritual and holy, but those who believe will still celebrate, perhaps in a more private, more meaningful manner.
We can learn lessons from the way the Jews celebrate Hanukkah among family and friends.
Others will still shop and exchange gifts.