photo credit: notonthehighstreet.com
I was at sixes and sevens all last week. I couldn’t pinpoint the “why,” and yet irritability, a critical spirit, emotions all over the place… what on earth was going on?!? The more I tried to figure out what was going on the stronger the blahs seemed to grip my heart and mind.
Finally, I sat down with my husband and dumped all the “stuff” that was swirling around my mind. I didn’t realize until that conversation how several things had converged to contribute to the blahs...
… I was grieving my mom. December 8th she would’ve been 101… and so memories of being with her for her 80th and 90th birthdays, plus being her caregiver before God took her home eight years ago, plus reflecting on how she still impacts my life…
… I was struggling with perceived expectations of others regarding a Zoom meeting I was a part of. Because the call involved women around the globe and because we happen to live on the other side of the world from most of them (!!!) the call began at 9pm for me and was to go until midnight. I’m not a night owl, and so I had already told the organizers that I would need to bow out early… and yet I felt guilty. Like others would think, “Why can’t she suck it up — at least for a couple of hours?!” I’m a people-pleaser at heart, and so don’t want to disappoint others… and yet I’m learning that I have to guard myself from late nights, primarily because they’re a whole lot harder to recover from at this stage of life! And so I bowed out early — and yet still felt guilty.
Sometimes it takes a while for me to get to the REAL reason that something is bothering me, and thankfully, my husband — after years of practice and lots of patience! — accepts this about me. Because then the REAL reason, the BIG blah factor surfaced…
I miss being with our kids and families for Christmas!!!
Yep. That’s the biggie.
We have lived overseas a long time, and so we have rarely been with our families for the holidays. Granted, we have always included others in our Christmas festivities wherever we have lived — even before we got married! When we graduated from university (on the East Coast) each of us moved to the West Coast: my husband to go to seminary and I to start working with a Christian organization. Neither of us could afford to fly back East for Christmas, and so we gathered some friends for Christmas dinner… and now, all these years later, we’ll be doing that exact same thing again this year!
And yet missing our kids and families…
I’ve been mulling over why this is such a big deal. After all, we definitely aren’t the only ones who are in this predicament at Christmastime. Some actually choose to not be together with family, and then there are folks like us who are unable to do so.
I think at least part of the reason is that we were created — are wired, so to speak — for relationship. That’s why God invaded history over 2000 years ago so that He could walk among us. So that we could figure out who He is and understand how much He loves us and longs to have a relationship with us.
Relationships are at the heart of Christmas!!! Not all the trappings (the decorations and music and parties, etc.) that make it such a beautiful time of year — even though I must admit I thoroughly enjoy that part! Not the gift-giving — although it has its roots in God giving us the gift of His Son. But the people. The relationships.
If you’re feeling rather “Bah… Humbug” about Christmas these days, look around and see if perhaps there are others you can come alongside to encourage. It doesn’t need to be complicated or costly — often a simple “How ya doing?” speaks volumes! And if you might have room at your table for another person or two, consider how opening your home — as well as your heart — can be the best gift this Christmas. And together, we’ll have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life!”