How is your transition going? You know….those few filled-to-the-brim days
when suddenly Thanksgiving is over and the calendar screams that the second week
of Advent begins tomorrow….. ? ? ?
Today I found another of my fictional characters hiding out in the file drawer marked “Advent.” If your week is similar to Linda’s, the manger might be on the
verge of getting lost.
Advent blessings from Liz
Let's Just Not Do Christmas !!
Our kids are scattered now. They have homes, growing families, jobs, and in-laws of their own. Goodness, our large blended family has multiplied until we can’t keep up with everybody. I suppose that's the good, natural ebb and flow of life, but—for whatever scheduling reasons—my husband and I are alone for all of November and December this year. Besides, I’m tired and Christmas is really for children.
That was my general frame of mind the weekend after Thanksgiving.
To make my self-imposed pity-party worse, I picked up one of our old Christmas photo albums. Tears fell for real as I gazed at pictures of the happy days when the house was full of growing kids. They were such cute teenagers, then spouses came along, and finally, joy of joys, we got grandkids!
I pushed the album aside, grabbed a handful of tissues, and flipped on the television. The album dropped to the floor. It fell open to the year I was really alone!
# # # # # # # # # # #
A newly single mom with three junior high kids and the first Thanksgiving after my mother died. The kids and I lived hours from other family and I couldn’t afford to take time off from a new job to travel. The memory of that Thanksgiving flooded back.
The kids and I went to church and then had a low-budget-non-turkey meal alone. I guess that old habits die hard because we got caught up in our tradition of naming blessings. After my divorce and my mom’s death, I got a surprise job offer in another city. The move was easy, the kids quickly settled into new schools, we found a good church, and my job with the service organization not only paid the bills but did wonders for my self-esteem. As we finished out dull Thanksgiving meal, my amazing teenagers insisted we had been sad long enough and we should start new traditions for Christmas.
By the end of Thanksgiving weekend, the house sparkled with Christmas lights, tinsel, and bells. We even decorated as much of the outside as my skills with stepladders and duct tape would allow. The kids further surprised me by limiting their “want lists” and actually stuck to their budgets. Then we invited six elderly people from our church to join us for Christmas Day dinner.
At the appointed time, our guests arrived, the turkey was delicious, and laughter filled our home. After dinner, we sang Christmas carols, shared memories, and listened to their stories. Both the kids and I learned a lot that year. They’ve always said that was their best Christmas ever.
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I snapped off the TV, put away the photo album, and went to the workshop to find my husband. Before I could lay out my entire plan, he was on the stepladder pulling down Christmas boxes with a big grin. Within minutes we had a list of eight friends who would NOT be alone on Christmas this year!
Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth
Whenever you did one of these things to someone
overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.
Matthew 25:40 (The Message)
Thank you, Father, for using old memories to remind me that Christmas
is about You….
…. not about me!