Sunday, December 03, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Tea - When Christmas isn't perfect but that is just fine
Back in my former life, when I worked in Organization Development, my boss would remind me that many of the problems we dealt with were because people wanted to "live life the way it ought to be and not the way it is". He called it his, "is-ought" theory.
I think of that each and every Christmas Season for that is the root of any frustrations I have with the Holidays. I have an image in my mind of the Christmas I long for and when it is compared to the actual circumstances of that particular year... well, sometimes they are closer in reality than other years.
There are some circumstances we just cannot change (or easily change) whether they be health related, finances, kids far away, no kids at all, being single, challenges with a family member, living away from family, or a variety of ways life is far from perfect.
I have learned to meet every Holiday Season with the realization that life is not what it ought to be (actually, I have to be reminded of that every day of the year). This isn't Heaven, yet. The war of the ages continues on here on this fallen planet and humanity pays the price. Someday that will all change. Amen and Hallelujah!
In the meantime, I do the best I can with what I have. Sometimes alone and at times with the help of friends... humans and a favorite cow (Moo). There are years I feel like doing nothing and have to force myself to even put a tree up and then there are Christmas seasons I decorate everything but the cat (while thinking how cute a red ribbon would look on her).
This year I'd say is... good. Not great but good. On one hand, I put up decorations but only about half of what is available. I knew what I got out would have to be put away. The house still looks festive and Christmasy. I have a stack of Christmas books, DVDs, and a few Hallmark movies are set to come on so they are not missed.
Sometimes there are those challenges that cannot be changed. Through the years they have included grief and I'm thankful this year is not one of them. Time doesn't take away completely that sadness but it makes it less sharp. Health issues continue as does having to forgive people over and over (and over) due to mental health issues.
There are a few ways I replace sadness with joy and all of those have to do with remembering the True reason for Christmas. I've been keeping my Bible on the coffee table to grab as one would take a life-giving booster shot during the day. I am so thankful for the larger print Modern English Version Bible I bought last year (before the whole losing my sight in the right eye thing). So far the translation has not let me down, either.
I listen to Christmas music, that which I've loved for years and some British choral music that I've come to appreciate the past few years. There is something about music that changes the atmosphere of a room, which causes one to realize why King David's musical abilities soothed King Saul (until Saul tried to kill him later but that's another story).
Right now I'm reading Phyllis Tickle's What the Land Already Knows: Winter's Sacred Days for Advent reading. There are times when reading from a different perspective helps me more fully get a picture of Jesus (she is Episcopalian). The Miss Read Christmas stories offer a good balance.
I must admit, there have been prior years when all I wanted to do was hold my breath and wish the Holidays would just get over with thank you very much. Thankfully, they have been few. Most of the time it has been like this year when I must choose to have joy.
A lesson taken from past trials is this... they can swallow you up like the enemy of our souls intended or you can fight back by doing the opposite of what he expects.
For instance, putting up a tree with pretty lights and decorations that mean so much is an act of faith. Polishing the (thrift store) silver to look sparkly is an act of faith. Choosing to read life giving books is an act of faith. Deciding to dress up and visit a friend or go to a concert when you feel like staying home and suffering is an act of faith.
Baking cookies when there is no family nearby and taking them to the local police or fire department as a gift is an act of faith. Reaching out from your own pain to help another is an act of faith.
When you choose to live as Jesus wants you to live, to have a thankful attitude instead of complaining, that is an act of faith and all of it has eternal consequences. As I have told my husband seemingly a million times... sometimes all you have to give the Lord is your attitude.
So this year my Christmas is not perfect but that is just fine with me. For it is good and I have learned that good can be... good enough. There is a lot for which to be thankful and isn't it quite a blessing that we have Someone to thank?
Mentioned in this Post
Larger print MEV Bible... here.
What the Land Already Knows... here.
Christmas at Fairacre... here.
Disclaimer: Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links. I thank you.
Image: Christmas Glow