I was teary and really kind of mopey. It was Christmas Eve and there was plenty of snow outside. The kids and my husband seemed excited. I was just not *with it.* It seemed success was going to be measured by my ability to get through the day and the next without anyone seeing me cry. No reason to ruin everyone's Christmas.
My husband bundled up the kids and took them outside to play. I took a moment to pray and try to gather myself. Then it hit me. I'm a grownup (yeah that one should have occurred to me earlier- *wink*). It was my turn. My parents made Christmas special to me each and every year. They, I am sure, put aside their own pleasure in many cases to bless their children. They shopped, cleaned, cooked, prepared, and cleaned some more. All without complaint, all with a smile, all making it look like they were having a grand time. Selfless service...
Now it was my turn to serve. I gathered up my new resolve and got to work. Candles were lit, water was boiled for cocoa, and I put together cookie batter and got cooking. My husband and kids came in, cold and snowy and red cheeked. I cleaned up their snow path, got wet clothes in the dryer. My husband commented that our house was like a scene from "Anne of Avonlea". :) SCORE!
I took a maturity step that day and in the end had one of the best Christmas Days to date. I found joy that day. Joy in serving and not being served.
We've had holidays with extended family, holidays without extended family, holidays with friends and alone, holidays in plenty and holidays with barely any money for gifts. In each one, God brings us the joy of being together (our little family of 5) and enjoying that time and praising God together.
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:11-14
This year, my college son cannot come home for Thanksgiving. Yes, I mourn it. But I have learned over the years through trial that it's okay to cry when I need to and then to wipe my tears, pray for God to help me find joy, and then make it my aim to count my blessings.
I've given some thought to what it would feel like to be alone on a holiday...as in completely alone...
I hope my heart would testify that Jesus is enough. I hope I would have a heart open wide to what He is trying to teach me through it. I hope I would count my blessings. I hope I would find joy amidst the trial.
"My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore. "
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."