I'm glad I went tonight...
Though I wasn't feeling festive, I got out of the house tonight to do our annual get-together with friends and family (my brothers live next door, so it's a two-for-one shot). It wasn't personal. I just didn't feel like going, mostly because I tend to get down during the Christmases where I'm going through a time of personal struggle. It's just difficult some years. But, my wife committed us to go, and I didn't want to make her go alone. She already attended the Christmas program at my church the night before without me for the same reason (I stayed home to watch my 49ers get thrashed on television - major fail).
But, I overdid it on the food and drink - mostly food (I had some awesome cheesecake tonight), and I needed something to do in order to keep me from hitting the hay earlier than necessary, in order to avoid a Pepto-Bismol moment as a result of assuming the supine position too quickly. I figured I'd do something productive....like this.
So, it's reflection time...
For many, Christmas is a tough time, particularly if the year has been a struggle. My battle has been about health and making a living. Throughout this year, we had relied on God for our provision, and while we fell a bit short each month, we hung in there. We believed it was only a matter of time before the floodgate of blessings would open. Sad to say, the floodgate hasn't opened - well, sad in the proverbial sense. It's a work in progress, as the floodgate hasn't opened YET. It is what it is, and it could always be worse.
We all know of families that are splitting up, friends with illnesses, people with failing businesses, parents with kid problems, and on and on...including 27 families in Connecticut who are suffering this Christmas, and Christmas will never be the same for them again.
This is not to compare ourselves with those who have it worse off. I don't like to compare myself with anyone, better or worse, because the struggle I have is my own. Our struggles are just that...our own struggles. I would just suggest that we should take the time and evaluate our struggle for what it's worth...you'll find it's not so bad sometimes and it'll allow you to pray for and think more clearly about a solution.
Years ago, I worked with a lady who approached me at work via email (even though she worked 20 feet away), telling me that she wanted me to keep the happy holiday talk down because of the depression that sets in with her during this time of year. Now, this was a person who enjoyed working where she worked, lived in a lovely new home, was debt-free, happily married, with wonderful kids and grandchildren, took a nice vacation trip every year, which is the stuff that a lot of us hope for. She didn't like Christmas because it just made her blue.
My response: "Get over it. A lot of us have it worse than you."
And that blew any chance of happiness in that person's life over the next few weeks. Ho ho ho.
So, what's my point? It's this:
When God answers my prayers with a resounding "no," He still loves me.
When I think that people are judging me because of my situation, there are friends that love me.
When I have family driving me nuts, I have two brothers that love me, who do their best to make their big brother laugh during the dark times, like tonight, and I don't know what I'd do without them. The story my brother David shared this evening about a mouse in the house was epic.
When I feel that there is a growing distance between me and my kids, I know they love me. More often than not, they'll do something or say something to remind me why they're special and why I love them.
When my wife comes over to me while I sit at my desk and hugs me, "because I just love you," that's all I need to keep me going. It's even better when I tell her "I don't need presents, and I don't need Christmas dinner...all I need is you." That tends to make everyone happy, happy, happy...
So this year, we won't be buying presents, and this year we won't be having a Christmas dinner...but this year we still have each other, and that's all right with me.
By the way, if on Wednesday (the 26th) you need to complain about returning your presents, don't email me about it....just read the red line above.
Merry Christmas...and one other thing...
Thank You, Jesus, for coming to this earth to be our Light and our Eternal Hope. Amen.