This Christmas

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100_3939.2This Christmas has crept into my soul slowly.  I am sitting here looking at the lights wrapped in tulle on my fireplace wall and the little tree lights peeking in from the Music room and I realize that sitting quietly (as quietly as you can with a game on in the background), soaking in the lights and allowing the redeeming grace of love’s pure light to sink to the bottom of your soul is the only thing that really matters.

The decorations don’t have to be major or perfect, the gifts don’t have to be extravagant and the food doesn’t have to be over the top.  Simple can suffice. (And the excitement of a Bengals touchdown can apparently break through the calm without making the lights flicker too much before all settles back to calm and bright.)

Earlier in the season when Rod Stewart was crooning in my ear and reminding me about baby Jesus (really, if you read it once, no need to again, but if you’re curious go on over and I’ll be here when you come back) I had one of those moments when you begin to realize a deep truth. A truth that has been marinating in my soul all season.  I realized that we go to a lot of trouble to make one day perfect. We act as if Christmas Day only comes once a year.  We get all in a frenzy making sure we have our list checked off and everything planned and synchronized.  We exhaust ourselves shopping and cooking and trying to fit in one more event.

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We say that it is because of Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.  But, I have to wonder if that is what we are doing.  Because I’m not so sure we are really focusing on the Holy Infant, tender and mild.  In light of the significance of his birth, Christmas is every day.  The day of his birth was the dawn of redeeming grace.  It wasn’t just for that one day, to be remembered once a year.  It is a Hallelujah event to be celebrated every day.

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There is nothing wrong with trees and baubles, parties and great food, or sharing gifts with family and friends.  However, if those things become our focus and wear us down to the point of becoming Scrooge, then I think we have to examine our priorities.  That is what I decided to do.

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When Rod sang Silent Night, the words really sank in more than ever before. I realized I wanted my focus to be on Christ, the Savior is born, so, I made a list of things to remember this Christmas.  Maybe it will help you remember too!

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May you find Heavenly peace wrapped in grace,

Teresa

A few more pictures…

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Really, It’s Not About Me (except today, it might be), But, All Is Bright!

Disclaimer:  Keepin’ it real, y’all. An update post of sorts since I’ve been pretty absent lately.  The Christmas spirit has been a slow start for me and You may be subjected to a small pity party, but it does end on a bright note!  Also, I mention Rod Stewart and Jesus both in this post. I think they would be okay with that. 

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Rod Stewart is crooning I’ll Have A Blue Christmas in my ear and the dish suds is getting to the point that the dishes better be done soon or we’ll have to have fresh water.  If only I’d done them last night instead of going to Dollar General.  Because mixing dinner dishes with breakfast dishes makes double the “toil and trouble”.

Going to Dollar General (I live in a really small town and it’s a good place to get gift wrapping supplies) was a good thing though, because finally, it was beginning to feel like Christmas.  Nothing like buying empty gift boxes to get you in that Christmas spirit. But then,

I had breakfast dishes to do (at lunch time) because I woke up with a short stab of pain in my head and then felt a little heavy armed and a slight (very slight) numbing sensation in my face.  So, I called my parents to come sit with me awhile just to make sure I was really okay (I’m really not a hypochondriac).  I seem to be okay because we checked my blood pressure and it was close to normal (I am self-diagnosing a pinched nerve, or sinus issues, or more than likely, just plain ole stress) and then I was hungry, hence the breakfast for all of us and the extra dishes. Followed by,

A mishap with the bathroom sink.  I left my Mom (who has Alzheimer’s) in the bathroom with the water running, forgetting that she has trouble turning the facet off.  A few minutes later when she hadn’t appeared and I realized the water was still running I walked in to see the faucet skewed sideways and water running down the counter, over the cabinet front, onto the floor.  Quite a nice puddle.  Yep, she still has her strength, apparently, as the faucet was sideways and is now lose, but still seems to function without leaks.  And, my bathroom floor needed a good mopping anyway.  I was a little frazzled by this turn of events, but tried to reassure her it wasn’t her fault. Lately,

I’ve been way stressed.  Like waking up crying stressed.  Like I want to hibernate from the world stressed. For no apparent, specific reason, but just life in general catching up with me, the depression that lingers longer this time of year and some nagging health related things I need to share with my Doctor when I finally dig my head out of the sand and let him start drawing blood.  But first,

We have to get through Rocky’s Cataract surgery (December 17) and my having to navigate big city traffic on the interstate (my nemesis) since he is having surgery in Louisville. We have known for several months that this was coming soon, but when he saw his Doctor last week she went ahead and scheduled now, during the most ‘hap, happiest season of all,” so that is added to the stress to do list.

Then there is my computer which is in for a check-up as we speak. The prognosis is not good.  Rocky’s also needs some TLC so we are both functioning on a very slow computer, which is nothing to complain about really, in light of more important things.

I am also still playing musical tables at my house and currently have a floater table. She spent two nights ago in the Music room and last night in the Living room.  she is a leggy, restless one that table.  I waffle between sending her away or finding her a place all her own.  Except, therein lies the rub.  We are short on space. I kind of like having her around though due to my inherited thing with tables,  so here we are,

Living in a space with too much furniture and feeling somewhat unorganized which has not been good for my state of mind.  If I have too many things  begging for my attention at once, or too many decisions to be made, I freeze and can’t function. Which is why,

Today, for a little while, everything caught up with me and it did feel like it was about me.  I resisted the urge to cry and started the dish water instead.  Then, after a few moments of searching for the Christmas CD’s, I soaped and rinsed dishes as Rod sang to me.  So, now that I’m armed with clean dishes, my gift boxes and Rod, I think I’ll usher Christmas in quietly, giving myself permission to do no more or no less than I feel up to. Because, as Rod just reminded me, it’a really all about,

“Silent Night, Holy night, All is calm, all is Bright.  Round yon’ virgin, mother and child, Holy Infant, so tender and mild.  Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.”  (click the words to hear Rod sing.)

Holy Infant, tender, peace.  This is all I need to remember.  When the dishes are dirty, when the sink floods, when my computer crashes, when I have to battle traffic, when my head hurts, when my spirit is crushed, when I’m pulled too many directions, when I am chest deep in chaos and the breathing is shallow and the world is closing in, I just close my eyes, breathe in the silent night and remember the Holy Infant.  His tenderness brings peace.

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Peace in the Grace,

Teresa