It’s Christmastime with all the lights, gifts, celebrations, cards, and busy schedules. All around us we are besieged by products adds, Christmas carols, and the reminder that “If we order today our gifts can STILL arrive by Christmas day!” Hurry ~~ Hurry!
Let me be honest, I love the Christmas season as much as anybody, yet, as I pay attention to the people around me I am tenderized by the fact that there are many facing challenges and changes IN THE MIDST of this season. Not everyone is experiencing a Facebook Christmas full of photos of fun, food, and laughter.
I am aware of folks facing incredible physical challenges, financial pressure, relational pain, loss, and lonliness. For them, the hoidays present unique challenges. I see the commercials with the children missing their daddies serving in the military; it takes less than one second for my eyes to well up with tears. I watched a man suffering with Parkinsons disease carefully taking steps down the aisle at the store slowly gathering up family gifts as his energy (not love) drained with every step; tears again. I read a blog of a colleague whose son has just married and faced a painful surgery to remove an enormous tumor in his brain; my heart breaks for what this young couple is walking through.
No, I don’t want to write a blog that brings you down! I don’t. Yet if we miss what is really true during this holiday season we will be unable to be ready to respond to the needs around us. I have simply chosen, in this season, to be very mindful of those who serve in customer care during the holidays; I’ve committed not to be too busy that I don’t forget to thank them by name, smile at them, and compliment them. It has been remarkable how those soft touches have changed their countenance. This is a little thing!
We all face challenging situations; some seasons are harder than others yet these challenges can just seem more pronounced during a season. If you are in a season where you are experiencing health, peace, and joy then CELEBRATE IT! If you are facing a season that feels heavy and challenging, I encourage you to trust in the One who loves you more than you will ever know! Deuteronomy 31:8 says ” It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” I just LOVE that! That is what Christmas is truly all about!
Last night I saw the movie ” The Book Thief”. There was one line that really got to me as I watched. The young heroine in the story had been going the extra mile for those she loved~ fighting for them, providing for them, reading to them, and sparing no personal cost to make the lives of those around her better; If she could. He father was asking her why she would do this to which she answered; “Isn’t that what humans do?”
Even as I write I am keenly aware that many of you are in a tough season, some of you have just passed though challenges, and there will be others whose lives feel incredibly easy at this time. I wish all of you true joy in whatever situation you find yourself this year.
Perhaps this season, and all year through, we could find the good tension between celebrating our own lives and remaining mindful of those whose lives are facing great challenge. Let’s be human.
Merry meaningful Christmas to you, my friends.