a “quiet” journey-part two
Remember how my last post highlighted how far behind I was in preparing for this Christmas season? I shared how I’d hoped I’d travel my own quiet journey to Christmas. I’ve given some real thought as to how I’ve celebrated Christmas in the past. How this year I almost lost my joy. How Christmas almost became Christmiss. How had that almost happened, I wondered. I LOVE Christmas! How had it deteriorated into only a list of things to do? In my contemplating I did discover a few things.
I’ve let other people and their “bah humbugness”
damper my enthusiasm. Just because some people feel that way doesn’t mean it has to contaminate me.
· Lesson # one: I will avoid exposure to the “scrooges”. (Thank goodness I can.) I will smile as much as I can to everyone I meet. “Smiling is my favorite.” (From the movie “Elf” just in case there’s someone on the planet who isn’t familiar with its origins.) I’ll say “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays” whenever I want because I have that choice and that freedom. However, my motives will not be political. I will respect other’s rights to say “Happy Holidays.” That is their choice and their freedom as well. Christmas shouldn’t be about making a point.
I admit I love the anticipation of Christmas. Mary and Joseph anticipated the birth of their first child. I want to experience that same anticipation.
· Lesson # two: I will allow myself to feel the excitement as the days count down, instead of the panic. (The anticipation of any event is half the fun anyway). I will anticipate the long hours in the kitchen baking cookies and making candy. I will gladly anticipate feeling tired and know I got that way doing the things I enjoy. I will look forward to the reading of the Christmas story on Christmas morning.
I will anticipate the looks on the faces of those for whom I’ve created some special gifts. I won’t pay heed to those who don’t get into the spirit of the event. I will focus on my own good time and those who are enjoying it as much as I do.
· Lesson # three: I will remember that Christmas isn’t just about the gifts I give but also the gifts I’ve received. No, it’s not what you think. I’m talking about the gifts I’ve already received. And I’ve received so many.
The gift of a loving husband, a wonderful family, good friends, shelter, and food. I recently saw a movie that centered on the genocide taking place in Africa. I’d seen it before but it didn’t impact me the way it did this time. One scene in particular featured a child whose condition I can’t begin to describe. Words fail because they are just words. As I sit here and write, my surroundings seem almost obscene. I’m not hungry or thirsty. I’m not sweltering in the heat or freezing from the cold. I have clothes on my back and shoes on my feet . I’m not worrying about whether I will eat today—or tomorrow. Whether I will have a glass of water to drink. As I sit here in my comfortable surroundings I wonder if I’m doing enough to relieve suffering in my own part of the world. I’m worried that maybe I’m not. I’ve been “gifted” way beyond what I deserve.
· Lesson # four: I will embrace my gifts as they are meant to be appreciated. I won’t cheapen what God has blessed me with anything less than heartfelt gratitude. It does no one any good. Besides grateful people are generous people. Unappreciative people are not.
This blog is a gift-from me to you. Freedom from depression has been a gift I certainly never thought I would open. Christmas can trigger depression for a lot of people…the stress, family complications, financial issues. The yearning for the perfect Christmas and the reality of anything but. We get tired. We obsess over unimportant details.
I live in Michigan and the days are getting shorter. Tomorrow will contain the fewest amount of daylight hours for the year. But the very next day, it stays lighter longer. Depression is like that. Our darkest day can be followed by a brighter one if we’ll just hang in there.
If you are struggling with depression right now, open the gift that is waiting for you. The miracle of Christmas is much more than a physical birth-it is spiritual re-birth. It is a gift to the world to be unwrapped by each of us. It is a gift unique for each of us. It is a gift we don’t even have to take. I used to think we all had to unwrap this gift the same way. That we all had to use it the same way. I don’t believe that anymore. That’s the miracle of Christmas….
That LOVE reached down to each of us, collectively yes, but individually as well.
I truly hope each of you reading this post finds what you need in the miracle that is Christmas. Life can be tragic as we all know from recent events. Where’s the miracle in a tragedy?
But despite what goes on in the world, I believe we can find a degree of healing through the gift of love awaiting each of us.
God bless you today and from my heart I wish you all, “Merry Christmas.”