I love this picture of my mom and Santa Clause many years ago. It sits in my family room and makes my heart melt every time I see it as it has become one of my very favorite decorations to put in my home every year.
Sharing a few random picutes of the kids – Brad and Sidney being silly while Christmas shopping, Sidney studying/watching TV while her brother sleeps on top of her, and Trevor and Ryan hanging out by the tree.
Sometimes we forget Christmas isn’t always merry for those around us. On our own preparations, baking, shopping and wrapping it’s easy to forget the heart wrenching emotions of those around us. I can think of some around me right now including the unexpected death of a mom last year on Christmas Day and facing the holiday without her for the first time; trudging through the awful effects of chemo; fresh opened wounds of not being with loved ones, often not far away by miles, but instead separated by disagreements, difficult interactions, bitterness and poor choices; struggling financially and not being able to fly or drive to spend time with family; not being able to buy Christmas present; walking through fear and worry, begging a depressed son not to commit suicide but waking every day praying it won’t be his last; feelings of isolation and rejection limiting joy and the ability to enjoy the holiday; being a single person with no spouse or children to spend the day with while family is miles away; having to face family who is critical, demeaning and not so fun to be around. Even the news abounds with stories of unnecessary death, tragic accidents and injustice especially this when we see the stories of police officers shot for the color of their skin as the country reels in anger and accusations of discrimination. Let’s face it folks, this is a messed up, ungodly world we live in.
Yet it’s far too easy, much too safe to simply turn a blind eye and pretend we don’t see it. We so quickly turn from those around us who are facing some really heart wrenching issues in a season that tells us to gather with family. We so often get so caught up in the buying and wrapping, in the decorations and planning and baking that we forget about those whose days aren’t so merry and bright. Let’s all challenge ourselves to extend the olive branch, gather with some who have no one to share a Christmas meal with, buy gifts for someone who lost a job, pray for the mending of relationships and hearts. This world thrives on chaos, unfairness, pointing the finger, not taking responsibility for words and action, pretending we don’t see the brokenness around us, waiting for and expecting someone else to lend the helping hand. Yet the Bible clearly tells us in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” We are all capable of reaching out to one in need. Maybe it’s an invitation to come for Christmas dinner or meeting for coffee to let someone spill their heart or sharing an hour to pray for the other’s needs and upcoming family stress or writing a check to someone who can’t afford to pay their next bill let alone buy presents. Whatever the Lord lays on your heart, and He will if you simply open yourself to be led and directed, let’s all be challenged to make someone else’s Christmas a little merry. God loves a cheerful giver, and in this season of celebrating our Savior and the eternal life He came to give us all, let’s give a bit of His love away through our words and actions. This world is painful, but this quote on my in-law’s fridge says it best:
Merry Christmas, dear loved ones! May you all remember why we celebrate – because Christ came to give us eternal life.
Philippians 2:8-10 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.