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Archive for the ‘Inspirational Thoughts from Jan’ Category

Is Christmas always perfect?

Many of us struggle to create a perfect Christmas. We attempt to choose the perfect tree—use treasured ornaments—make food from traditional family recipes, and decorate our homes with lights and greens. But, alas, as hard as we try, it is never quite perfect.
Like the year I miscarried our baby on Christmas Eve day, the year my brother died early in December and my Mom was in the hospital trying to recover from pancreatic cancer surgery. Then there was the year my sister had liver cancer and we all got together for the last time. Not too long after that, my brother-in-law died a few days before Christmas, and other loved ones were also missing from the Christmas table.
This year is no different as my friend’s husband died today, several others from my church family, and a couple of friends back home have also died during the past couple of weeks. My ninety-six year old mother-in-law had a stroke last week and is now in Hospice care. She is not expected to live very much longer.
I can’t think of many Christmases which were perfect, and certainly not the first one. Imagine having to travel about eighty miles on a donkey and walking when you are due to have a baby. When you get to where you are going, there are no inns available and your time has come for the child to be born. Finally, your husband finds a stable where you have your child on a pile of hay with no comforts of home. Your child doesn’t even have a bed. So, you throw cloths on some hay in a manger and put Him there.
The animals would be milling about, and it no doubt stinks and it was probably cold. This certainly was not a perfect day for Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Mary knew Jesus was sent from God, and would have wished for better circumstances in which to give birth.
But the greatest thing was that God was there! And an angel choir came and announced the birth to some lowly shepherds who glorified and praised God which was the perfect response.
Through some very painful years, God has taught me that Christmas is not about me or my circumstances. Christmas is “Joy to the world the Lord has come.” And, that’s why Christmas is always perfect no matter what.

Prayer: Thank you God for sending your Gift of Jesus to save us from our sins. Amen

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It was two weeks before Christmas and as usual, I was running behind. Work had been a hassle with a new accounting program being installed and I stayed late most every night. I didn’t have my cookies baked, or presents wrapped and the house was bare of any Christmas decorations.

Then, the snow began. It snowed day and night for three days. It piled up to over thirty inches. The snow weighed heavily on the electric lines, and down they came in numerous places—s o many places, as a matter of fact, that the power company couldn’t keep up. And, of course, out went our lights, and those of thousands of customers.

I found some flashlights, candles, oil lamps and our camping lanterns. Since I had no way of knowing how long the power would be out, I decided I would have to decorate the tree. I hung the ornaments and strung the useless lights on the branches. Somehow, it just wasn’t the same without the lights. I didn’t have the magically moment of plugging in the lights to say, “Wow!”

I must admit, I was feeling a bit out of sorts, and sorry for myself as I shopped for food I could heat on our Coleman camping stove. Oh, yes, I did go out and buy a little two-burner propane stove. I couldn’t get along without water for my tea. It was in that store that I came across a group of Amish women shopping and chatting happily for the opportunity to be in town. It occurred to me that they lived like this all the time. The lack of electric lights didn’t seem to affect their joy. Just what was my joy of the Christmas season based on anyway?

After a week of “chestnuts roasting by an open fire,” well not really, but we did burn logs in the fireplace for heat, tried to read by oil lamps, and we listened to a battery-operated radio, the electricity finally was repaired.  I geared up to full-speed ahead and finished my Christmas baking and gift wrapping. I had my “Wow” moment of finally turning on the Christmas tree lights.

I thought about how many lights we burn at Christmas—on the tree, stars, manger scenes, candles, advent wreaths on the outside of our homes on our lawns and bushes, all representing the Light of the world.

As I reflected on the importance of light in our lives, my thoughts turned to the Light who came into the world over 2000 years-ago. The Light sent from God to be the Savior of the world.

“But God, who commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, hath shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV

Without this Light, we have no reason to celebrate Christmas. Jesus truly is the “Reason for the Season.” May our hearts be filled with the Light of Christ this Christmas.

 

© Janet R. Sady 2011

 

 

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