What a difference a year can make!
This year, my holiday preparations started back in September! One Sunday, I went up front for prayer during the church service. I asked the volunteer couple to pray with me; I was a little nervous about the upcoming holidays.
I needed peace and reassurance, because the entire last quarter of 2015—October through December—was pretty rough grief-wise. So I was praying for a non-repeat.
I’m so glad I asked for prayer.
Praise God, we’ve had by far the best holiday season yet. We’ve had many special moments with family and friends over the years, but this entire season has been good.
It’s not just what we have done—but also what we haven’t done—that’s different. We’ve hosted visitors, attended holiday events, and enjoyed new traditions, sure.
One thing we did not do: Send Christmas cards.
I felt I would have been running short on time to crank out cards to our many loved ones. And because our season has gone well, I decided to be still and take it all in.
Sure, the picture below is unedited (with other peoples’ heads in the way). 🙂 But, I have more peace and joy as-is. Honoring Jesus by not being so stressed feels way better.
Also, this season, Lydia and I reached a happy milestone! We decided to put up the ‘big’ six-foot Christmas tree for the first time in at least five years.
For the last several years, it was just too much physically and emotionally to handle decorating the tree on my own. It brought me more tears than joy. Yet this year feels vastly different—I am grateful for God’s gracious healing!
Last week, my neighbor helped me bring up the tree out of the dusty closet, so Lydia and I could decorate it. Now that she is old enough to understand more, it is so fun to see her excitement! Lydia is delighted with all things Christmas.
For me, this holiday season feels like a gift. It’s like I am seeing things in full color! To be honest, for the first time in years, I am truly excited to celebrate the wonder of Jesus’ birth!!
I am already looking forward to Christmas, without even knowing my exact plans!
Instead of rushing through the season from one event to the next, I’ve taken time to pause and enjoy each moment. We hung a new wreath outside and bought new bright red, Christmas decorations for inside. We’ve played games, made treats and watched holiday movies. It’s been fun!
Dear friend, I pray you are also having a wonderful season of celebration. I hope you are able to feel the joy of Christmas. But, I also know how you feel if this feels like the worst season yet. Last year was unexpectedly difficult for me. So, I’ve been there!
Maybe this year you need to simplify your decorations or buy something new. Or, quite possibly, you might just skip decorating altogether. I understand!
It might be less stressful to stay home for Christmas or maybe you will feel better by traveling to visit loved ones. I’ve done both!
Yes, each season has its own unique challenges. Remember to treat yourself well.
Ask for help, when needed, and adjust your expectations.
If you want to read my holiday posts from last year, click here for the start of my December 2015 posts. I hope you are encouraged!!
You may feel like each day is a battle, when everyone else is laughing and carrying on. You might have to fight just to put on a smile. I get it.
I also know the best thing you can do…. Whether you are facing fear, loneliness, discouragement, or immense sadness, bring it to Jesus.
If you feel like you have nothing to bring to Him for Christmas, bring whatever you have. Your honesty is precious to Him! He can handle it and use it to heal your heart.
Jesus loves you deeply, and He will never leave you alone.
You don’t have to have your life perfect…Just come!
Someday, Life will be good again. It will get better! But, it’s going to take some time to heal. Let our dear Savior King touch your spirit with his grace and love.
Linger in Jesus’ presence. Even if that is all you can do today, that’s okay. The rest will come. Take it one day, one hour, or one minute at a time. Don’t forget to breathe. Conserve your energy, and reserve your best for Jesus.
In the midst of your struggle, God is there. His plan for you is GOOD. Remain close to Him and you will find peace and grace in your time of need.
Father God, thanks for Your gracious healing. Thanks for making all things new. When our hearts are burdened with grief, pain, or discouragement, remind us to turn to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions: Do you have any special holiday traditions? Who, or what, are you missing this season? How can I pray for you?
Tasks: Find someone you trust and ask for prayer. Find a quiet spot and just be still before the Lord. Let Jesus fill your heart with peace.