Oh the joys of Christmas are many but the hustle and bustle that we get ourselves wrapped up in are exploding before our very eyes; exploding before our family’s very eyes!
I’m not sure when, if ever, in my life that Christmas was an easy and gentle time. I fully admit that I go for the all or nothing approach, decorating every corner of the house, baking dozens of cookies, writing cards to hundreds, singing in concerts, ringing the Salvation Army bell, hosting parties… You get it – over the top.
This year I have discovered , more than any past year, that I need to stop and listen. I need to stop what I’m doing, look at the people around me, and ask one simple question. “How are you doing this time of year?” Oh I’ve asked the question many times before but the” stop and listen” part were not in my consciousness.
The answers to my question have been rather humbling. My friend whose family is far away is struggling without them. A church friend is coping with the loss of her husband. Two friends lost sons to cancer this year. Someone else rejoicing that her son is making a remarkable comeback after jail and rehab. I didn’t even know her son was in jail and rehab. I have not been listening. Heck, I haven’t even been asking.
I’ve always prayed for those who don’t have joy in Christmas, who find it difficult to attend church services with all the happy songs and people. This year, my prayers are different. They are focused. I’ve asked the question. I’ve listened. I’ve talked, called, and shown up.
Won’t you take some time to ask the question? Won’t you take some time to stop and listen? To act.
We can all take back Christmas in our own little way.
PS How are you doing this time of year?