Wednesday, December 25, 2019

So...this is Christmas?!?!

Another year almost over.  I'm not sure what I did, but I seem to have no trouble filling the days.  I hope 2019 has been a good year for you, and 2020 will be even better.

I did not decorate this year, the house or a tree.  So I am stealing Natasha's house...

I managed to get the family to send me recent photos.  Not an easy task when they are spread far and wide.  

From Canberra...
Jefferson, Rafe, (Santa), Anushka, Jaya

And Adelaide...
Hayley, Hazel, Ben

 On the Vermont ski fields...
Patrick, Zak, Dylan, Natasha, Oliver

And back in Tassie Land...
Marnie and Denver

I hope you all get to spend some quality time with those you love.  

No family around?  Then invite a friend to share some Christmas cheer with you. 

No friends?  Then go out and be a friend to some else who is alone.

No excuse to be alone at Christmas unless you want to.  And that is fine too.  A good time to rest, relax and reflect. On the past year, and expectations for the coming one...

And this morning, this popped into my email box. Stephanie has written a beautiful post.  So if you are looking for something to reflect on, try this...

069: When Christmas Is More Broken Than Merry

I stepped up to the counter as Jenica slid a shoebox toward the Kohl’s cashier. The lady smiled, a quick, automatic reflex, as she greeted us. “How are you this evening?” she asked.

What popped into my head wasn’t the right thing to say, not to a stranger whose job was to give us a pleasant shopping experience. She didn’t need to know that five minutes ago I had leaped to catch my daughter as a seizure took her down. I lowered Tarica to the floor and held her as she convulsed next to a display of Christmas sweaters, while a man and woman on the other side of the display loudly debated what gifts they still needed to buy. What was I going to say—that even though department store speakers were belting out lines about the weary world rejoicing, my own world felt broken?

“Fine,” I said. “And you?” I tried to ask as if I cared about her answer, but a week later, I don’t recall what she said. It was a polite, forgettable exchange.

Forgettable, except for this: It has become my metaphor for a Christmas that feels more broken than merry.

I play Christmas music. I help Jenica make the Christmas fudge that I used to stir up by myself. I belt out lines about the weary world rejoicing. I ask friends about their Christmas plans and brace myself for ours. I pull out recipes for food that appears on our table only during this season. I tell strangers that I’m fine and wish them a merry Christmas.

That’s one part of my Christmas.

I count seizures. I struggle to parent one child on four drugs and three children who act like they aren’t getting enough attention. I contact Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and make a January 10 appointment with their epilepsy specialist, calling it a second opinion even though I know it likely means more than that. I raise my—I lose my—I yell at my boys when they trash the living room during the seven-and-a-half minutes I’m upstairs. I tell strangers that I’m fine and wish them a merry Christmas.

That’s another part of my Christmas.

The contrast knocks me off balance. How can there be peace on earth when I live afraid? How can I sing about a “thrill of hope” when I’m fighting off despair? What does Christmas mean when I’m broken?

But wait.

I forgot.

We are the ones who have wrapped Christmas in merry and bright. We have collected exultant Christmas hymns and carols but failed to remember that we are not angels. In loading our tables with goodness, we have forgotten that this goodness is not guaranteed to us.

In the years when peace reigned inside and out, I have rejoiced in the scents and songs of the season. But when the trappings of Christmas, the human-made additions to our great joy, clash with an internal discord, I don’t know how to celebrate. When everyone is in such good spirits and I am not, I feel worse, not better.

But. He is the Light come to those who sit in darkness. Merry and bright isn’t wrong, but neither is it Christmas. He is. If I can’t celebrate with the intensity our culture demands, that doesn’t mean I’m rejecting Him. I can still celebrate His first coming, perhaps as quietly as He arrived.

Christmas isn’t for the merry. Christmas is for the broken. If we hadn’t needed something more than what we have, Christmas never would have come.

I share a piece of my story because this is the only story I have the right to share. But I know so many people right now who are grappling with a reality that contrasts harshly with the joy of Christmas. A baby in Jesus’ arms instead of snugly tucked inside his nine-month home. A family saying a long goodbye to a husband, father, and grandfather. Health issues that complicate a friend’s daily life. A godly man ravaged by cancer. A marriage torn apart. A family celebrating their first Christmas without their father. Loved ones turning their backs on God and embracing bitterness. When will the pain end?

For those who aren’t sure how to celebrate, I write this. You may have more tears than laughter this season. You may be more weary than rejoicing. You may be sitting in darkness.

The Light has come for you. He does not need you to be merry, but He does want your heart, even when—especially when—it is weary and broken.

Be happy!
Count your blessings!
Enjoy what you have!

Joy to the world...



  1. How true this is! A very Happy Christmas to you, Lynda dear! A quiet one for you, I imagine. An opportunity to be immersed in what it all truly means. :)

    1. I had Marnie and Denver here for lunch, which was nice. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas celebrations. xx