Merry Christmas?

Let’s talk Christmas. Ugh. I hesitate to write about this because I’m tired of being a downer on my blog. I’m sorry. But, maybe someone else can relate, so here goes.

This Christmas season, my emotions have been living somewhere between *sigh* and *cry* most of the time. Not that most people I see on a regular basis would know that. It’s just this icky heaviness that has nestled in on the top of my heart and in the pit of my stomach. I work at a church, so we are all over Christmas, working really hard to make it a great experience for the thousands attending. Why do I just want to fast forward past it?

Yesterday I went shopping for presents for Josiah. I was at Toys R Us and that “feeling” kicked in. Up and down the aisles I went looking for something that would make him smile. I was saddened that it was the toddler toys that he would like. The ones that light up and spin and make noise, and aren’t very complicated. Seeing all of the toys lined up there, I was confronted again at how far behind he is in his development. And then I saw about three typical little blonde-haired boys throughout the store that were about 4 yrs. old, Josiah’s age–one imaginatively playing with the train set, one talking a million miles an hour to his mom about a Bob the Builder toy he just had to have, and one just basically arguing with his mom that he didn’t want to leave. These are simple scenes that I am so attuned to, but they will likely not even stick in the short-term memories of most of these moms.

I realized that part of this feeling I’m wrestling with has to do with remembering the Christmases of my childhood, and not being able to “recapture” those magical, wide-eyed moments I had as a kid. We used to have about 20 people over for Christmas–grandparents, cousins, friends. It was festive! My dad, who went home to be with Jesus 10 years ago now, loved Christmas in a Chevy Chase sort of way. He decked out the houses with lights, and he’d play Santa for the community kids. He loved flannel shirts, and egg nog and oyster stew on Christmas Eve. Daddy’s gone. Both sets of grandparents are gone. Mom lives 1529 miles west. Brothers live about that far south. I feel like I’m stuck out here on the Island of Misfit Toys. We won’t be making the trek back to see my hubby’s parents together this year because it’s just easier not to with Josiah, at least until spring.

And, Christmas is lived best through the eyes of children. My only child doesn’t know it’s Christmas. Well, if he does, he can’t say. And all those stories about Jesus and Mary and Joseph, and Santa and Rudolph and St. Nick are just lobbed out there into the air in little installments by me, but he can’t respond with eyes all lit up. Asking questions and having to be shooed back to bed on Christmas Eve because he’s trying to stay awake to catch a glimpse of Santa. I want this for my precious little guy (thankful he’s such a happy little dude, though). I want this for us. But Autism just takes off with it like a bandit–robbing, robbing, robbing. Grinch that it is.

I think if more people were just allowed to be honest, Christmas time could be more of an opportunity for encouragement for the downtrodden than a magnified reminder of what’s wrong in their lives. From my vantage point, Christmas feels like this perfect picture for a lot of the families with young kids that I know. When life is good, it’s really GOOD. But what about those that hurting this Christmas? Wouldn’t the message of Christmas be so much more welcomed if we just said, “People, NONE of it really matters as much as the GOD WITH US part.”

To E. whose in her late 20s and lost her dad last summer, after her mom died of cancer just a couple years before–GOD IS WITH US!

To. J. whose husband is serving in Iraq and who just had to increase her autistic daughter’s seizure medication–GOD IS WITH US!

To K. who is struggling financially and can’t afford much for her kids for Christmas–GOD IS WITH US!

To M. who is feeling like giving up because this spiritual and emotional journey is so much effort–GOD IS WITH US!

To A. whose house is close to being foreclosed upon and whose husband’s contracting work has run out–GOD IS WITH US!

To A. who has felt hurt recently by some people who she valued as Christian friends–GOD IS WITH US!

Maybe there are some people we know in our lives that might be having a hard time this Christmas. How about we simply acknowledge that for them? The other day I sent an email to a friend just to say, “I wanted you to know I’m thinking of you. I bet it’s a hard time of year for you because you’re missing your parents.” She replied, “Thank you for knowing that it is hard and reaching out to simply tell me!” Then we don’t leave them without hope.

We can’t forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. “For to us a Child is born, TO US a Son is given…His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace… His name shall be called Immanuel, GOD WITH US.” Which one of these do you need Him to be for you right now? I’ll take all of the above, thank you. Praise Him for such a Gift.

Truly, Merry Christmas!

…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] Hebrews. 13:5 b AMP

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for Today’s Blog. I have been feeling exactly the same way and it truly helps hearing someone else is feeling the same.
    God Bless and Happy Holidays!

  2. I too wish Christmas would be more about helping than the materialism it has come to. I still have feelings like these and I will always remember combing the shelves of TRU with my husband trying to find a toy he would play with and feeling hopeless under the realization of how far he had to go. It’s definitely okay to feel this way and don’t apologize for your feelings!

    Big hug to you.

    Love that you gave a shout out to those you know in need. More people need to do just that.

  3. Thank you for a lovely and well thought out post. It is hard to remember that God is with us…or to remember to remind others that He is with them.

  4. I am friends with Kris Hallblade, she hooked me up with your blog. I’m a mom of a little girl who suffers with autism. I loved this post. It’s really not a downer like you said. It’s refreshingly honest and also ends with hope. Thank you ..this will help me face into the next two days. God with us….(we also lost a daughter to a birth defect seven years ago, and my sweet dad died of cancer 18 months ago). Lots of loss, constant reminders that “everything is broken” but Jesus came to give us the hope. Clinging to that sometimes with just my fingertips, but definitely never willing to let go of the cross. Bless you, sister in Christ, and fellow special needs mom. We didn’t sign up for this, yet…here we are.

  5. Amen. I’m late to this post, but how I still need to hear and know in my heart GOD IS WITH US. Thank you, Tahni. Thanks for your heart that focuses on others in the midst of your own heartache. Truly, Merry Christmas today and every day.

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