>> Wednesday, December 12, 2012
While we didn’t have a lot of money and there were many lean years, my parents always managed to provide wonderful Christmas memories.
I remember one particular year. We’d been warned to not expect much. My dad was a truck driver and had been laid off that winter. I braced for disappointment yet stared at the gifts piled around me, amazed and loved.
But all too soon, childish things faded, replaced with the stark reality of adulthood.
I found myself in a crisis-filled marriage marred by abuse and alcoholism. Each year I panicked, wondering if he would be sober enough to make it to our family Christmas gathering. I stressed out and tried to keep him from drinking. Disapproving stares from my parents left me shamed and humiliated.
Eventually I ended up alone during post-divorce holidays, wondering if I’d ever have a happy Christmas again.
Another marriage resulted in more pain and heartache. And a second divorce.
Years slipped by and I continued to dread every holiday season, wondering if I’d always be alone. Maybe next year…
Disclaimer: I have a wonderful family that cares about me. I have friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and a terrific church family. I’m so blessed.
But it’s just not the same as being loved by that “someone special.”
My faith remains strong despite emotional entanglements. I celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and know it isn’t about presents and trees and tinsel.
My head knows it’s about God’s love and the gift he sent us in Christ.
My heart doesn’t always get on board.
This year I determined things would be different. I vowed to accept that I’m exactly where I belong. His timing—his path. And to focus on the ‘reason for the season.’
I puzzled over the phrase, unsure of the meaning. But during the next few weeks, God started to take me to scriptures about Jesus. Who he is and the sacrifice he made for us. And how much he loves me.
And I experienced my ‘Aha!’ moment.
I see it every time I glance at the nativity on the mantle of my fake fireplace. Or bask in the glow of twinkly Christmas lights. Or hum along with a carol.
The love I crave. It’s been there all along. Born in a stable as a tiny baby.
Oh sure, it’s not the same as having a significant other. Or being folded in a warm embrace. And I still pray, “God, bring me someone that loves me as much as you do.”
But for right now, it’s all good.
As long as I keep my eyes on the baby.