Christmas, where are you?

 (originally published December 21, 2007)

I’m usually very transparent on my blog. I figure, if I can’t tell it to a group of strangers who I probably won’t know this side of Heaven, who can I tell? It is harder, now that I know some of you and have established friendships with many of you.

That’s my round-about way of saying that I’ve gotten a little more opaque lately and good at keeping things more fluffy.

Not today. Today, I am hurting and trying to work through some things. I know that as I write this, I will keep wrestling with myself, telling myself to just delete it, once I write it and get it off my chest. But I wonder if others can relate?? So, I’m rushing through it, misspellings, poor sentence structure and all… before I can change my mind.

The best way to explain, is to sum up how my morning went:

Abbie was allowed to not wear her standard school attire to school today because she has had no violations in her dress this year. The note home said “jeans and/or a holiday shirt”. Abbie had no holiday shirt. She was upset, but she worked hard to get over it. I was frustrated because I would have loved for her to have a holiday shirt. But, even a cheap one wasn’t in the budget. I raced her to school. She got out of the car and ran towards the school.

Suddenly, she went down. And landed in thick gooey mud… I got her to the door and then raced home to get her clean clothes.

In the meantime, her teacher called and said that Abbie was crying and embarrassed. My poor, sweet, forlorn girl.

And I barely had enough gas in my car to drive back over.

I started crying because of the frustration of the gas, the no-holiday-shirt, the mud and the child trying to be okay with it all.

But I wasn’t okay with it.

Why? Because this Christmas we’ve struggled with getting presents, let alone extras. We’ve got medical bills that have to be paid and we are still trying to take care of bills that went to collections when we lived in Maryland. We’ve been poor stewards of our money in the past. We’ve been trying to catch up from our year of constant errors and times are especially lean. When we do have extra, it’s like a gorging feast that gives you indigestion when it’s all over. It’s not frivolously spent – but in the lean times, our list of things we need when we have extra money grows longer and longer.

So I’ve cried this morning. I’ve cried for my daughter who is so sweet and tender and wants to be wearing a cheery Christmas shirt at school today, but isn’t. I’ve cried over the fact that were it not for other family members thinking of us and sending gifts, the tree skirt would be showing all of its un-hemmed glory. I’ve cried over the simple frustration of day-to-day life.

And then I remember Jesus.

And I remember His words.

And I remember what He gave me and what He did for me.

And I remember that Mary and Joseph and the shepherds didn’t have festive holiday attire at that first Christmas.

Rather, they were in a smelly, cold stable. And it was still the most perfect Christmas in the history of the world. No festive lights (other than that shining star), no shiny bows and trimmings, no Ho Ho Hos… 

The Gift that was laid in that manager so long ago is still my gift. It is far better than anything that could be under our tree or that my daughter could be wearing to school. Because of Him, I am redeemed and justified. And no one can snatch me from His hand.

Not bill collectors.

Not grumpy holiday shoppers.

Not advertisers that tempt me with all of the things they say will make my holiday perfect.

I am beginning to remember the real reason for this Holy day. The reason my home is decorated and presents are wrapped.

And I’m praying my heart will be filled with His peace and love.

And I pray the same for each of you.

Merry Christmas, friends!

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

~ Luke 2:8-14 (the Message)

Comments

  1. Shell in your Pocket says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart and struggles!

    sandy toe

  2. If you only knew how much this spoke to me. Thank you.

  3. Hi Karla- I remember this post – I had only been reading your blog a few months. You have such a gift. I am thinking of you and your family this season (saying prayers too). Thanks for reposting this again.

  4. echo lori … if you only knew how much this spoke to me … thanks for the transparency

  5. Oh how He is our amazing gift of hope and peace. We are blessed indeed. I pray for tender mercies for you and your family, that your cup will overflow with His grace and goodness!
    lots of love,
    edie

  6. Karla, BE-YOU-TIFUL!! And well said! I absolutely can relate to how you're feeling and just as you're learning to rest in His peace so am I. And once I've remembered that season isn't about receiving gifts but celebrating the ultimate gift of love, my perception changed and I'm absolutely enjoying this season more than any other. His peace is one that truly surpasses all understanding.

    Great post!

  7. ~*~KIMBERLY~*~ says:

    Karla,

    You said: "The Gift that was laid in that manager so long ago is still my gift…Because of Him, I am redeemed and justified. And no one can snatch me from His hand."

    I'm in total agreement with you. I've been going through some stuff is year. I had an anointing prayer to come against some evil spirits bringing me down. I'm good to go… I'm in victory with Jesus! AMEN! Praise God!

  8. Amber @ Classic Housewife says:

    Oh, Karla – I have BEEN. THERE. This is the first Christmas in a loooong time that we can buy Christmas presents for our kids and still breathe. Even then we've had to eat rice and beans a couple of times waiting for the next paycheck to come in so we could get groceries. I remember the first really hard Christmas about 5 years ago, when I bawled over the "big, best Santa gift" which was a hand-me-down bicycle that looked Just. Pitiful. It's so easy to let these things overwhelm us, to let them feel more important than they are – it's easy to let money get ya down when it affects your kids.

    But you are so right.

    It's so important to keep our perspective during the holidays and focus on the right things, not the money things. Thanks for the wonderfully written post. Blessings! =)

  9. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas

    Mike
    http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com
    Twitter: AboutParenting
    Photo ideas? 100 Portrait Ideas

  10. rebecca says:

    I just want to applaud you for your candor. Brought tears to my eyes because every single one of us can relate and it lets us know we're not alone. I know this is an older post and I'm guessing you've experienced tremendous blessings since then or they are right around the corner because God blesses honesty and true transparency when it glorifies Him and you have. You're an example for us all to stop with the "fluff-iness" and be more transparent and honest! sincere thanx

  11. Karla –
    This is so heartbreaking lovely and true – when the reality of what Christmas is all about hits home (again) and we realize (again) that we can’t pretty it up because it was and is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened in the history of the world. Thank you for sharing your life and giving us all cause to stop (again) and praise God for sending His son on that perfect first Christmas, and relax in our efforts to make our Christmas perfect- it’s already been done!
    Sooner or later we are bound to meet. Irondale is too tiny a town for us not to! In the meantime, I appreciate running across your musings when they show up in a friend’s newsfeed.
    Have a very happy Christmas!
    – Jan

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