I tend to dread the holidays. Every year I try to brace myself and come up with some type of game plan that will make them more bearable. Last year I was able to escape and visit friends in the sunshine state. This year there was so much going on leading up to them that they approached more quickly than anticipated and I felt trapped in between the hustle and bustle of the season and all its flare. Thankfully, although I had no plan in place, God did. Even though my emotions were all over the map He met me each step of the way.
Part of the dreading was due to the holiday meals. As much as I’ve always enjoyed the rich, heavy, hearty meals of the season, they did not satisfy me this go round in the way they once did. I ate more to be polite than from an actual desire to eat. I know…strange. I can’t wait to hit the gym tonight to burn off the extra calories. I can hear the treadmill calling me…
The other reason for the dread, and what seems to be pressing in more and more on my heart as the years go by, is not having a close family unit. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about families, just like Valentine’s Day is about being in love. I actually dread V-Day less than Christmas but I think that is because all of the fuss is contained into one day as opposed to being spread out from November through New Years. Regardless of my less than joyous state, I did however attempt to get into the holiday mood. I did some Christmas shopping, bought some gifts for some folks I hold dear to my heart, and even strung up some lights around the house. Problem is no one ever got to see them. They are still hung up, unlit.
One great thing that happened is I was able to do some volunteering in my community. I have always wanted to volunteer around this time to remind myself that there are so many who are less fortunate than I am. God opened a door for me to do some gift wrapping for a great community building organization and in the process I was able to meet some other residents of my city. The workers loved me and I plan on helping them with some other future programs. Additionally, while volunteering I enjoyed the beautiful sounds of their carolers. Anyone who knows me knows I love music and I especially love carolers. As I listened to their voices, I knew that God was meeting one of the very desires of my heart. I felt like I was being filmed in a sappy lifetime movie, mug of tea in hand, dressed in my holiday t-shirt, worshipping God right along with the carolers on stage.
Just last weekend one of my good friends invited me to a pre-Christmas breakfast potluck at her house. I stayed nearly 6 hours, talking about everything and nothing in particular. That evening I released in worship at my church’s gathering. God took over my feet once again and led me to dance. I believe that dance helped to halt some of the warfare that had been occurring in my home.
But in between all of these events the sadness lingered in my heart. The unmet desire to have a family I could call my own haunted me continually…yet God was near. The Friday before Christmas I met my friend at the mall and accompanied her with some last minute shopping. We talked for hours and stayed almost until they closed which was midnight. Christmas Eve I found myself at my pastor’s house. They fed me and embraced me as their own. Repeatedly affirming me that I was one of theirs. But even as I nodded my head in agreement, sadness still tugged at my heart. I left their residence and made it to a Christmas Eve service to join my co-workers in worship. On the ride there I could not stop the tears from spilling over. I let them spill. It didn’t seem to matter that God kept using people to reach out to me, the ache in my heart would not dissipate. Well, until I worshipped.
During the Christmas Eve service I was crying again but this time it was not from sadness. I was overcome by God’s love and nearness to me. I was overcome by the gift of salvation He extended to me. More so, I was touched by His adoption.
I don’t know how many more Christmas’ I have to go where I am feeling alone or sad. Feeling as if I am missing something or someone, but I know that this is His will for me. That I am walking out the life He wrote for me each day on this journey with Him. And even when it is the very thing I do not want…the very thing that hurts the most…I know it is eternally working for my good and cannot possibly compare with His sacrifice for me. I was reminded of that on Christmas Eve. I hope to be reminded of that everyday.