These are the times that try men's souls............a quotation from Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776. Mr. Paine, of course, used the phrase in a much different setting than I. However, it is a good quote and applies to so many situations.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. Even though we never had children to enjoy here, we made a big deal of Christmas. We worked with the kids in our church, we participated in the plays, skits, whatever we could to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
Terry loved Christmas. He loved the decorating, baking, cooking, wrapping gifts...but NOT the shopping! That was my forte. Now, with him in heaven and me alone here, some of the lustre has worn off, it seems.
I participate in my church, I shop, I decorate, I bake a bit and cook even less. The wrapping is now my chore alone. His presence is missing; half of me remains a gaping hole with seemingly no real healing. Yes, at times it's feels better, as though some healing has begun. Then, something from nowhere hits and the wound is fresh again. What a roller coaster ride!
Last year, for the first time in my life, I actively celebrated Advent. I had no idea how to do it since I'd never been introduced to it in my church. I Googled it (what WOULD we do without Google?) and made a somewhat half-hearted effort.
This year, I built upon what I had learned last year and have had a quite fulfilling experience. Beginning on Dec. 1, I read my daily Bible passages and lit my candles. It has been such a great blessing in my life. It has helped me keep my focus on what I have instead of what I've lost.
The decorating has been more fun this year. Two of my grand-nieces spent the night and helped me bake a cake and do some other food preparation. Their laughter filled my house for several hours. We sat together for my Advent focus; we talked about baby Jesus and all He means to us; what He did for us.
I never cease to be amazed at what little ones can understand if they're given the opportunity. They are 30 months and 70 months (2-1/2 and nearly 6) and astonish me with their open-hearted acceptance of everything I say to them as absolute truth. I had forgotten that.
So, Christmas once again brings me joy, real joy. The kind of joy that permeates my heart and soul, that shines from within me and lights my way as I go. THIS is what Christmas really is....the joy of Jesus Christ and all that His coming made available to us. Joy to the world, the Lord is come.....Let heaven and nature sing!!!!
and peace on earth