Category Archives: Holidays

It’s that time of year …

not for celebrations and parties.  Not for get-togethers with good friends and people you may know.  Not shopping for bargains and gifts, not meeting up to have a good time and not for having a nice glass of wine with like-minded folks.

Well, actually, it is that time of year, but not for everyone.

For some, this time of year means eating a cold can of beans alone in an empty room without power because the electric bill wasn’t paid.  It wasn’t paid because the baby needed medication and there wasn’t enough money for medication and electricity.

For some, this time of year means standing on the street, in the cold, wearing street clothes and house slippers because there wasn’t enough money for rent and if there wasn’t enough money for rent, there certainly wasn’t enough money for a coat and shoes.

For some, this time of year brings memories that are bitter and hurtful; thoughts of years past that ran, one into the other, with no happiness or joy.

For some, this time of year means nothing.  It is simply the passing of time while watching the world go by, just like the year before and the year before that.

For some, this time of year means family, food, friends and fellowship.  It is these people who embrace the season and enjoy it as they always have, together with the people they love and are comfortable with.

But what about all the others?

Who, when they set down to their family table laden with food, surrounded by family, warm, cozy and perfect, think of those who have nothing, expect nothing and know nothing different from the emptiness they feel every year at this time?

I and many others call ourselves followers of Christ.  We say with our voices  how much we love and want to be like Jesus.

We sing praises, bless our food and continue on in the same traditions we have followed for years.  We praise Jesus and say we want to be like Him but prove time and again that we recite words we believe but don’t, deep down, mean and we fail the very Jesus we say we want to be like.

He wants us to share what we have; not just home, warmth, family, friends and food, but the very word that would bring others to love and honor Him.

Invite a stranger to Thanksgiving dinner.  Invite several strangers.

Let’s bring someone homeless to our home and make them, for one day, family.

Let’s show them that Jesus is real and that they are loved.

This time of year is our time, the Jesus follower’s time.  Our time to put our money where our mouth is.  To be hospitable, to offer shelter and food for those who are hungry and the ones the world calls outcasts.

It is our time to take in everyone, despite everything, and to show them Jesus.

If we, who claim to be the hands and feet of Jesus don’t show love to the oppressed, be certain that the evil one will.

He will entice and enchant them, then make them slaves to his depravity and hatred of all things good.

Don’t give the devil the satisfaction of beating us to the punch.  Let us be the Jesus we claim to want to follow and lead someone to Christ by being the hands and feet of the Savior.

Make no mistake –  Satan is working hard to win the souls of the lost and if we don’t work harder, he will win because he doesn’t give up if he doesn’t get a response on the first pass.

Be Jesus to the world and don’t give up just because you can find an excuse.  Having an excuse doesn’t excuse us, but overcoming excuses and finding a way to be Jesus to the world shows our true alliance.  We are with Jesus or not with Jesus.  It is as simple as that.

Everyone reading this post is welcome to Thanksgiving Dinner at my mom’s house.  You, for one day, will be our family, you will be warm and your bellies will be full.  Must love, or at least tolerate dogs, though, because our place is lousy with them!  🙂

Sometimes, at Christmas …

people are sad.

They are lonely and grieving and sorrowful for things they can’t change.

Even happy people get sad during this time of year.  They start thinking about what they have or haven’t done.

Things they’ve said or left unsaid.

They look away from the homeless on the street and the hungry in their own hometown.

The look for friends where there aren’t any and find reasons to feel sorry for themselves.

I can say this because I live it.  I experience it.  I understand it.

I am an optimist, but sometimes, my smile is painted on and my heart is heavier than I think I can carry.

I look around at my life and take stock as Christmas looms on the horizon, as the New Year stares me in the face and I think “what do I have to offer anybody?”

And then, like the soft light rising out of a foggy Spring morning, I am reminded that Christmas isn’t about me.

It isn’t about trees or gifts or money or family or friends.

It is about something so magnificent, so profound, so incredibly huge that it leaves little room to be sad.

It is about a child that was born of a virgin.

Not just any child.

The child.

The Christ child.

Think about that for a minute.

In this sex-crazed world, think about a young girl who had never given herself to a man and yet found that she was pregnant.

If you feel crazy, imagine what she was feeling.  Imagine what was going through her mind when she told the man she loved that, although she had never been with anyone, including him, that she was pregnant and that God had told her that it was ok.

How insane would that sound?

How could Joseph possibly trust her?

He trusted her because he trusted God and God trusted Mary with His son.

It sounds complicated and weird and yet it is so beautifully simple.

Who among us would not want to be chosen to carry the Savior of the world and who among us would not want to care for and love the one carrying that child?

Who among us would not want to be an integral part in raising that child, in cherishing Him, wiping His tears, telling Him bedtime stories, hearing Him say “I love you” as He wrapped His little boy arms around our neck?

I find that, when I think of the reason that we celebrate, the joy and inexplicable magnificence of it all, it is difficult to be completely sad.

Not impossible, for we are human and as humans, we can always find things to complain about, be sad about, be mad about.

We can always find ways that people hurt us or make us feel unworthy, who leave us wishing for more and hoping that tomorrow will bring the fulfillment of our dreams.

But if we let all the human emotions crowd our minds and hearts, we will forget why we celebrate to begin with and if we remember why we celebrate, then there will Joy unspeakable.

Yes, there will still be sadness and loneliness and melancholy … There will be loss, grief and memories that threaten our sanity … but they will, if we put them in perspective, be in their rightful place.

Behind joy.

Behind thankfulness and awe.

Behind beauty and love that surpasses anything we will ever find if we only see with our human eyes.

And because the feelings that threaten to destroy us are behind the Joy of remembering why we celebrate to begin with, we will live through them, move past them, learn from them and be stronger and more resilient because we have hope in something bigger than who we are and what we feel.

With hope, there is nothing impossible.

With hope, there is always the possibility of another day.

With hope, there is the image of Heaven.

Sadness can’t hold a candle to that.

My hope is that each one I know, each person I come into contact with, each spirit that crosses my own will know joy and that, even for a moment, the sadness will become obsolete.

Merry Christmas, my friends.


Luke 2: 7-14

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

For the first time in years …

a Christmas tree is in my home.  I don’t really  know what to feel about it.  There are so many emotions swirling through my mind and heart that I find it nearly impossible to separate them.  There is, first and foremost, the pure joy of having a lighted tree in my house that I am moved to tears, over and over, moved to tears.  The smell of cedar permeates the very existence that I know.  The lights blink, fade and flash, making me wonder if perhaps I am having a spell of some sort.  I have only lights on the tree as anything else seems to take away from the beauty. I am enamored and find myself staring, nearly hypnotized by the purity of that which is before me.

I hadn’t really planned on having a Christmas tree.  It has been so long and the thought made me feel sad and anxious along with a myriad of other emotions  and to be perfectly honest, I was afraid.  Afraid of the thoughts it would provoke and the memories it would invoke … but as I look at and dream with the lights, I realize that it is not made of things past or memories best left unearthed, but perfect beauty.  I am  awed by what I see and know that the memories I am making are my own, not those that are carried over from time past, but mine.  I don’t know that I have, before now, had memories that didn’t include someone else, memories that, in my heart, belonged only to me.  But now I do, and so I will cherish them.  I can’t say for certain that when Christmas comes around next year, I will have a tree, but I hope I will.  I hope for many things and hope is a good thing … maybe the best of things.  As long as hope is alive, no good thing ever dies.  I am grateful.  I am thankful.  I am content.  I find that being content is, without doubt, one of the greatest feelings ever.  Yes, there are people I am missing in my life, friends that I seem to have lost touch with, loved ones who are far away, but contentment is something that comes from within.  It has little to do with the outside world and everything to do with how I feel when I am alone.  Being alone does not have to be coexistent with being lonely. I am not lonely.  I am, at times, confused, and possibly discombobulated, but not lonely.  I have everything I need right here.  Yes, I am content; a beautiful thing indeed.


If you’re too sick to go to the doctor …

you probably have the flu.  It is that time of year.  Actually, it’s a little early, meaning that the season will be in full swing by the time everyone starts traveling to visit with family and friends during Christmas.  There will be many who will have a fever and feel as though they have been beaten nearly to death with a hammer, but will travel anyway because, hey, Great Aunt Ethel will be disappointed if she doesn’t get the pair of socks they spent two minutes picking out.  They will hack and cough, sneeze and sniffle, wipe their eyes and forget, at times, to cover their mouth, touch everything and leave their germs behind for dozens of others; kind of like paying it forward, but in a bad way.  Unless they are walking around in a bubble, they are going to give it to many unsuspecting people, who will in turn, give it to many other unsuspecting people.

Imagine yourself on a plane, closed in with a few hundred others, a third of whom may have or have been exposed to, the flu.  Breathing the air, touching the surfaces.  There isn’t enough soap or hand sanitizer in the world to protect you.  Now imagine yourself on the subway platform with all the same scenes.  Now imagine yourself on the train, or at the rest area, or in a restaurant, or at the mall … I could go on for pages, but first, multiply the  above by a hundred thousand or so.  If you or someone you know hasn’t yet tested positive, just give it a little more time.

The flu virus can live outside the body anywhere from a few seconds to 48 hours and on your hands for about an hour.  The vaccinated have a better chance of avoiding the flu than the un-vaccinated, but there are no certainties either way.  It is important to wash your hands or use sanitizer between every contact with every surface.  Will it make you feel like the skin on your hands is going to fall of?  Of course.  What can you do about it? Use lotion.  That will make  you even more susceptible, but at least your nails will look good.

Jesus is the reason for the season, but flu is the reason for the sneezin’.  Try to stay well everyone …