Back in November my sister-in-law and I mentioned to each other several times that we just didn't have the "Christmas Spirit". Many friends were saying the same thing. Mr. Marvelous and I talked about it several times. We wondered how much of it was the cultural climate and how much of it might be the media's choices of stories about hard times. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to put my thoughts into words and share them here on the blog, and I just couldn't quite get it.
Was it because of the political situation and all the folks affected by the fiasco-of-the-week?
Perhaps a spiritual problem with me personally that kept me from "feeling" Christmas-y, or was I being overly dependent on my emotions?
Was it just because we are in that awkward season of life between empty-nest and grand-kids?
We never could quite figure it out, but Mr. Marvelous and I did decide that this year we would have a quieter Christmas with less of the trappings.
Oddly enough for someone who delights in the celebration of Christmas, I was very happy with that decision. As I was finishing studying II Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, I was struck by the situation of God's people in the centuries before the coming of the Messiah. I thought a lot about the four hundred Silent Years.
I did not get carried away with list-making, blogging (sorry!), gift making, or decorating.
Last week my sister-in-law and I discovered why not having our usual "Christmas Spirit" was God's good choice for us this year. We discovered that she would be spending Christmas at the hospital, rather than at home or at her daughter's home. I would be at home but going back and forth to the hospital to do what I might for her and for my brother. Our gifts from God this year are different but they are good, as they always are. This year we are thankful for the gifts of redemption, of God With Us, of appreciating the things we take for granted ~ like ice chips! ~ of God's people who surround us when we are in need, of surgeons who pray over and with their patients, of opportunities to speak God's Truth to many, many more people than we would have imagined, and of PEACE. We are aware that there are so many of these good gifts that we don't even see all of them.
I sent the following to some very dear and long-time family friends to let them know about my sister's illness.
Christmas looks a little different for us this year; a little quieter and a lot less filled with the trappings. Our minds are turned a little more to thinking about the first Christmas: how it came after 400 years of silence. How it came during a time of precarious political upheaval and capriciousness. How it came during a time of dark evil to bring the light of atonement and redemption. This year we are very conscious of Christmas being God with us. As we wait for Christmas morning, we eagerly wait for His return. Until then we take the opportunities to share the peace and comfort we have with those around us who so desperately need that peace and that comfort.
Thank you for your prayers for our family over the past week. We are asking that this week as you pray for us, you thank God for His goodness to us in getting my sister through the surgery. Please continue to pray for us over the next several months as God brings us to your remembrance.
May His grace, mercy, comfort, and peace be with you and all those you love, both now and forever.
Most of all,