Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Cold and snow and sadness at the Season
I will take some pictures of our winter wonderland again but for now... it is really, really cold outside. You know it has been cold when you have to use Heet to get into your car in the morning. I had to go into town early this morning and while the roads were not terrible (which means you could actually use your brakes once in awhile), one had to be very careful.
There is a section of the narrow county road that goes into Town, which is surrounded completely by trees. While knowing there will be ice on the road there more often than not, driving through it is much like finding oneself in Narnia before Aslan is on the move... danger mixed with sparkle. I half expect to see Mr. Tumnus hiding behind one of the trees. :)
I was rewarded on my way home with a flock of cardinals all keeping themselves as warm as possible in my neighbor's bushes at the end of our gravel lane. Beautiful! I would have taken a picture but did I mention how cold it is outside... like sub-zero cold?
This Advent season has been quiet for the most part, except for a few stressful moments brought about by garage doors damaged by snowstorms, cars that do not work properly, and cranky people. Nothing one cannot handle by taking a deep breath once in awhile and sending up a short prayer... help!
I have been watching some Holiday cooking shows, reading a few books (which I will write about soon), and keeping my mind on the true Reason for this season. It has been a good chance to practice what I preach... Edith's quote... "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will always end up with nothing".
I love having Christmas decorations which bring such joy and at times... nostalgia... and which cost me no money. I have learned the importance of creating a beautiful Christmas environment that I love, even if no one else sees it but my family. Curling up to read with a Christmas tree in the corner and a cat curled up on one's lap... now that is lovely no matter one's income.
I know we are not alone in our very tight finances as we depend on food pantries for much of our food (stocking up our own pantry when we have the ability) and where there were once five or six other families waiting in line, there is now a crowd. Where there was a crowd, people are not even getting into line. Pantries are also giving out much, much less than they used to... a true sign of the times.
I find myself praying for those around me for I know I have learned how to have a wonderfully beautiful Christmas season even when money is nonexistent and there is no chance of shopping for gifts. That has been my life for awhile now, since it was apparent my husband could no longer hold down a full time job.
But for those who are walking down this road for the first time, especially those who do not know The One Who Created Us... Whose very Birth we celebrate at this time of year... it can be a desperately difficult season... one to just "get through".
There have been times when I have asked God, "Why?". When we did everything one was suppose to do to be financially stable... education, tithing, budgeting wisely, etc. Why have you allowed such suffering through the years brought about by my husband's illness and later mine?
One day many years ago when we lived in Michigan and I qualified for help (I do not now, unfortunately, except for free insulin from the drug companies), I was sitting at a table with many, many young women who were there to receive government health assistance (I was there as a Type 1 diabetic who needed medical help just to stay alive).
Most of the other women were single mothers in their late teens and twenties. I remember His Voice speaking within me and I knew... just as He entered our world to save us... He wanted me in their world to be Salt and Light and offer encouragement and as much wisdom as I could.
Since that time about eight or nine years ago, I no longer feel better than another or have the attitude of "why me?" or even look down at one who is obviously high or "wasted". Instead I pray for them and when possible (which isn't always possible), try to share Him and encouragement.
If He sent us to Africa or Asia to spread His Word, we would call it being a missionary. Instead He allows us to walk in the shoes of another, perhaps a path we never expected, a path of illness or poverty or in a neighborhood or a city or any circumstance which causes us to feel outside of our comfort zone... and we realize it is our Mission Field. We are to be His Salt and His Light in the midst of darkness.
At no time does it become more apparent then at Christmas.
So one learns to appreciate even the smallest of gifts and thank Him for what we HAVE (good books, a few candles, hot coffee and tea, a warm coat, wonderful movies and music of the Season)... and trust Him that we are walking His Path. To complain about our circumstances may just be to stomp our feet and be upset at our very own mission field.
Which makes about as much sense as living in the Midwest and complaining about snow and cold. We stay close to the Giver of Wisdom to know we are doing all He asks the best we can and then depend on Him for the rest.
My prayer for anyone who is sad and struggling this time of year is to open His Word, listen to Christmas music with good theology (as so much of it does, especially the old stuff), and find Peace.
Picture: Feathered Friends; allposters.com
Posted by Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks at 10:31 AM