This year the days and weeks leading up to Christmas have not really felt like Christmas at all. We've done all the things that you do at Christmas to make the season feel "merry and bright," but this year I'm just not feeling it. I put up the Christmas tree early this year, a week before Thanksgiving. The Christmas cards were addressed and mailed on Decmeber 1st. All of the presents have been wrapped for weeks...ok, all except for a few. My Christmas cd has been on in my car since before Thanksgiving. We even went to Branson to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday last weekend. We saw the lights at Silver Dollar City, and got relaxing massages. When I think about Christmas, I think of happy times. I have fond memories of Christmas when I was a kid decorating the tree with ornaments that had been in our family for as long as I can remember, sitting around eating yummy food, catching up with my cousins and other family members, listening to Christmas music, seeing Santa Claus and trying to be extra helpful around the house, being apart of my church's annual Christmas pageant, dancing in the Nutcracker with the local ballet company, the smell of cinamon and a real tree, drinking apple cider, my birthday on the 17th, and opening gifts. As a kid, I'm not gonna lie, gifts were a big part of the excitement. Believing in Santa Claus made Christmas feel magical. Christmas is associated with so many feelings. In order to try to recreate certain feelings of happiness, I have been guilty of trying to create circumstances that I think will make me feel happy at Christmas and other times of the year. Everyone likes to feel happy and satisfied, but at what cost. It seems like every year, I spend more and do more to create a feeling of bliss. I find myself not only being less happy, but being less satisfied and confused. I have to remind myself that Christmas is not about me. Although it is a time in which we should rejoice in the birth of Christ, but also his sacrifice that he made throughout his life and on the cross. Sacrific e is a strong word. Are we not to follow in His footsteps...trying to be more like him daily? I'm not saying we should die an epic death on the cross to prove our committment to Him, but we should still die daily. After feeling a lot of emotions, I began to reflect on my life. Also, I began to search God's word. You always hear that it is important not to let your emotions control you. Seriously, show me how! I am a woman and feel strong emotions daily. Sometimes they lead me to do the right thing, while other times, they lead me to do the wrong thing. Okay, more times than not, my emotions lie to me and I end up sinning. Some things that I need to ponder more deeply: Is it ok if I'm not always feeling happy? If so, how can I really be ok with that? How do I learn to make the little things really count in life and get my joy from these things instead of material things or perfect circumstances? I don't want God to have to turn it all upside down for me to understand this point. It seems that I learn it, and forget it after a while, time after time. How is it that I always forget how miserable I am trying to do it on my own. Maybe its pride, or just stupidity. It is at least one of them. We all know that life does not always give us the perfect circumstances; we cannot always afford what we want, family members become ill, and people will hurt our feelings. I have many happy memories growing up. I also have many sad memories of people that I miss dearly. There were many sad times growing up, so you would think that I'd be used to it and OVER IT! I have a lot more learning and growing to do with the Lord and His word, and a lot of things to learn about taking my focus off of me and my happiness. God did not promise us happiness, but He did give us joy and a mouth to praise HIm. Today, I will choose to give Him the glory, no matter how I'm feeling. I really hope that you do the same. Hard times may follow, but you will be blessed.
Lord, if you need to tatoo this on my forehead then I will understand: