There is something so wonderful about being in the snow during this time of the year. We spent part of this week up at Timberline Lodge enjoying a little skiing before Christmas. During the day we would ski, and at night we would sit around the beautiful lodge reading books, eating and laughing.
Taking time off the week before Christmas to slow down and relax was so good for my soul as well for my family. What a beautiful place.
We are home now and getting ready to enjoy a couple days celebrating Christmas with our families. It’s a good year, one that will carry the good kind of memories. Not all my memories of Christmas have been good though. I remember when I was 11 years old, while the world was celebrating the season; I was mourning the loss of my dad. I remember hanging Christmas lights outside in the bushes by myself because our house looked so dark. I just wanted to feel normal, but nothing was normal about that Christmas. I hope my children never have to go through a season such as that.
Last night, Stephen and I helped Julia wrap gifts at the mall to raise money for the high school drama club. Wow, what an experience of mall life before Christmas. It was a bit shocking to my system after spending three glorious days on Mt Hood. I was a bit challenged by the lady who handed us 15 gifts to wrap and kept telling us what a hurry she was in. My thoughts toward this woman were not the most pure, and a few choice words swirled in my head. I finally snapped after about the third time she told us to hurry it up, and in the kindest way I could muster up (with a smile and a slight tone of annoyance), I told her she could take her gifts and…wrap them herself if she preferred. She stopped complaining at least.
Stephen wrapped gifts for a father that had had just dropped thousands of dollars on snowboard equipment and outfits hoping that these gifts would buy him a couple of good days with his children. A divorced man, he had flown his children in from across the country and he told my husband that he was just hoping for a couple of good days with his kids. Oh the stories.
Possibly we all wish that the holidays could be filled with beautiful Hallmark moments with family sitting around the table eating goose then opening the door to yuletide carols sung by English Dickens village characters the night before Christmas while the snow falls from the sky. Don’t we all wish for the magical Christmas we see on TV? It seems that our American culture has pitched to us an expectation of what this holiday should look like. Well…let’s not deceive ourselves with unreasonable expectations.
I think this is why I am so grateful that God came near. Despite the year, the season, and what is going on in life, when we find the treasure in the manger, when we meet the Savior, when we call out His name for help, He comes near. He brings comfort and joy.
At 15 years old, sitting on a beach on the Oregon coast, I called out to God to comfort me after feeling the loss of my dad and He came to me and never went away.
God visited us as a child so that later, He could make His grandest act of love… the cross.
So no matter what life is bringing, whether it is the kind of Christmas to remember for the good, or possibly it’s the year you had to string up lights by yourself, know that He is merely a breath away from you. Life can be hard, but truly the baby in the manger brings comfort and joy. Merry Christmas my friends!
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
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