Hi everyone! As the month of December starts, I’m sharing a piece I wrote during a challenging season a few years ago. I learned a lot that year about letting go and trusting God – both important lessons. Enjoy.
A Different Kind Of Christmas
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…” 1 Corinthians 1:3
While sharing a little time with my husband one December morning a couple of years ago, I asked him for prayer. What began as a quick request turned into an emotional moment as I poured out some of what was stored up in my heart.
I started by asking if he would be okay with me buying cookies for Christmas Eve that year instead of baking them. Boy, was that a hard question to ask! Baking has been one of my favorite ways to usher in the holiday season. But because of Rheumatoid Arthritis setting in, my joints just couldn’t handle a lot of the movements involved anymore. Being stubborn and independent, I’d already tried several times and paid dearly for it.
I realized that cookies were not the only Christmas tradition that was shaping up differently that season. Stockings were going to be smaller, as well as our tree. We’d been too busy to pull out the box of decorations. And since the kids were older, there was less excitement in the air. I knew those changes were part of a natural progression. But each one felt like a loss to me.
Later that morning, I came across a great article by Lisabeth Saunders Medlock about accepting change. In it, she shares her own extremely challenging experience. Here’s one point she made: “It’s natural to have feelings of sadness, to grieve over the loss of something…You have permission to feel that way, but only for moments.”
Those words really resonated with me, because I often get stuck emotionally. Grieving is definitely part of the process of accepting change, but it’s only one of the first steps. I have to be able to look at the present realistically, and the future hopefully. I can’t make myself ready to move forward like that on my own, though – my mind and heart are too weak. I’ll stay stuck.
Thankfully, I have a God who knows each change I face, and who wants to help me navigate them. The Apostle Paul called Him “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…”. From his early years as a Pharisee to his missionary trips, Paul experienced change on a daily basis, and not always for the good. But God was always faithful to pick Paul up and lead him forward.
I take great encouragement from Paul’s story, because it reminds me that I don’t have to face change alone. As my family’s familiar Christmas traditions start to shift, or I have to adapt to a new health condition, my Heavenly Father wants to bring comfort to my spirit. He’ll help me cherish what’s been, to accept what is, and to look ahead to what’s next!
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