Christmas, where are you?

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 cyber-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 it 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” and 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 usually 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 should be able 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 unhemmed glory. I’ve cried over the simple frustration of day-to-day life on this fallen earth.

And then I remember Jesus.

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

And I remember what He said about the things of this earth.

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. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Merry Christmas to you, Karla. This was a lovely piece. :)

  2. Megan (FriedOkra) says:

    Lovely, poignant and hard to read at first. But redeeming. Your honesty goes a long way to reminding me what it’s all about, and while it’s been difficult to focus on Christ while the world drones on about mistletoe and packages and feasts, you have quieted the din for a moment and refocused my heart. Thank you Karla and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    M

  3. I hate it that you went through this today. But you ended this post in a positive manner. I think you helped yourself rather than ask for advice from us. You most likely helped someone else today. Karla….I think you are a remarkable person. God has blessed you with your husband, children and home. Merry Christmas dear friend.

  4. Bless you. It is difficult. Growing up, I never thought we were poor and still don’t because we had love and my mom gave us (my brother and I) everything we thought we needed…I understand your frustration and sometimes it helps to cry. Someday she will understand. Perhaps you should print this out and show her in the future.

    Blessings!
    Jessica

  5. merry christmas my friend. thank you for sharing your heart. i know it resonates with so many…with me!

  6. Praying for your Mommy heart. And thank you for the reminder of what Christmas is about. It’s hard when the hurt(s) of our child (or our heart) are so often in the forefront.

  7. I am sending you a hug. I hope you have a good weekend and a Merry Christmas.

  8. Karla – bless your heart. Of course you had every right to cry! Sometimes life just sucks! But let me tell you something I’ve learned. The less we have? Sometimes those are the times where I’ve had the most. I mean, one of my favorite Christmases ever was when we were building our house and we moved in 2 days before Christmas. We’d been crammed into this tiny little apartment and we had a small tree that we plucked into a bucket. Our ornaments were all in storages so we made them. And my daughter put her little tiara on top of the tree. It was the best. We worked together as a family and it had more meaning. That’s what life is about. The more you get and the more you have – the harder it is to tap into that.
    Try to remember that the next time you’re struggling. Maybe it will help bring some warmth to your heart.

  9. I, for one, am glad you did not delete this. The best post are the one’s from the heart.

    Life is hard. It is painful. Yes we have Christ. However, you can’t have a bunch of people praying for you if you don’t share your heartaches.
    Hang on.

  10. Mrs. Fussy Fussypants says:

    Oh Honey, I so feel your pain! That’s it, it’s playdates all til the new year for us! ;)

    I’ll call ya tomorrow!

    Love ya.

  11. Be strong in your faith and things will get better. Most of us can so relate to your feelings, in other words, been there-done that! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  12. The Flip Flop Mamma! says:

    I’m so glad that you posted this. You aren’t the only one struggling this Christmas. We too have been horrible with money and right now we have NONE! Geesh. So, I know how you feel. You’re such a good mommy for crying for your little sweet girl. Don’t feel like you shouldn’t blog about anything, we’re all here for you!! This is a good place to vent all your frustrations and have those of us that are in the same boat completely understand your anger…and pray for you!!

  13. I love your honesty!

  14. I am glad you didn’t delete it, Karla. Life is not perfect, and we all go through really rough patches at different times. I’m sure there are many who, in tears, are nodding their heads, going through everything you are. But you pointed us to the one this season is all about. Beautifully done. Praying you get through this rough patch and know the hand of God.

  15. Karla, it’s when we are the most honest that God shows Himself the most. He shines through this poignant post.

    I wish y’all a very Merry Christmas filled with blessings.

  16. I’d be crying too. And believe me, I have over similar issues. My heart aches along with you because (without going into a lot of personal stuff in the comments section), I totally relate to where you’re at. We’re not there right now, but we’ve been there. And it wasn’t in the too far distant past, so it’s all very clear in my mind. And although your post started out on a down note, you definitely brought home what Christmas truly is, and I thank you for that reminder. Thank you for posting so honestly. You really blessed me today by sharing this. Merry Christmas, my friend!

  17. transparent is good and we should all try it a little more often. many days i feel like the wizard behind the big curtain as i type my cheery posts. so thank you for trusting us. i know you will receive blessings from blessing us.

  18. Totallyscrappy says:

    Thank you for such a heartfelt post.
    One afternoon it hit me that one of the reasons Jesus was born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothing was so the shepherds couldn’t be confused or lost. The One they were looking for was different than most, He stood out.
    God has such a plan for you and your faithfulness.

  19. Karla, thank you for sharing your heart and for being so real. That is why I bookmarked your blog in the first place. The things you share God uses to speak to others. I was one of those who was nodding along with you. Thank you for letting God speak through you.

    I am sorry that you (& Abby) had such a hard day and will be praying for y’all through this time. But isn’t it great how God spoke to your heart and pointed you (& those reading) back to what Christmas is all about?

    ~Hugs~

  20. Oh Karla. I’m so sad reading this. I had no idea things were tough for you right now. You do a good job at keeping it “fluffy”. I wish I’d known. I’d have sent your dear girl a Christmas shirt.

    I love how you wrapped this up with the illustration of Jesus in the manger. Can you imagine the filth and the stench? The welcome for the Savior of the world? It’s amazing, really, and we’re so numb to it, we’ve heard it so much.

    I’m praying today is looking up and that you and your family have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas together, despite the struggles. ((Hug))

  21. beautiful. just beautiful. *sigh* wonderfully wrapped in the word…

    reminds me of the scripture-
    “if you, being evil, want good things for your children, how much more so does your Father want good gifts for you?” this too shall pass, Karla.. and your children will be left only with the memory of being loved and knowing Him. that’s all that counts.

  22. I’m so glad you didn’t delete this post because I think it was meant for me. Thank you for sharing so honestly an so poignantly. Beautiful.

  23. Karla,
    Your post really resonated with me. Nearly seven years ago that was my family and our struggle.
    I was newly married and my husband had an astronomical amount of left over medical bills from when his first wife died of cancer three years before. We were newly married, four children, and he had just lost his job. It was painful, difficult, and I experienced similar things that you have described.

    The Lord provides in those times. It may not be in the manner that we are desiring but He makes sure His flock is cared for just as He cares for the birds of the air or the lillies in the field.

    That time of struggle was brief but it cemeted our little family of six. Those were some of the best days and our teenagers value money in way that most teens do not. They look for how the Lord is working when most do not. Your words were sweet and precious. I will pray for you during this season.

    You have pointed all who read this to the real reason for the season. It is not about shining, pretty things but that tiny babe that came to save the world. Your words were beautiful!

    Blessings to you and yours,
    Vickie

  24. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I am glad you did not delete this post. I know EXACTLY what you are going through. I am THERE right now, BUT GOD! He is all that really matters. Thank you for the Christmas reminder.

  25. MIKE ( Big Brother) says:

    My little sis, You realy have a way with words. I really do not like to see any of my family hurting. I wish we all could live closer so we could just help each other out when we each need it. I wish Abbie had a Christmas shirt, I wish we all had a Christmas shirt to wear every day. If you think about it we all wear a CHRIST shirt. Some of us just wear it a little ,some wear it alot. You wear yours on top of all of your clothers for everyone to see. You are a great mom,and sister,always looking out for others. That is where Abbie gets it from. LOVE ya always MIKE (BIG BROTHER)

  26. Barb @ A Chelsea Morning says:

    I don’t think you should delete this post, Karla. I haven’t got time to read all the other comments, but I can assure you a lot of have been right where you are. So we understand exactly how you feel and why you cried.

    In spite of it all, you have such an uplifting and positive attitude, I know you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas. There are so many ways we make Christmas special, especially for our children, that don’t involve gifts under the tree. Believe me, I’ve had many, many lean years. And all my girls remember is that Christmas was wonderful.

    xoxo

  27. Dear Karla, we have been there and done that and we’re doing it again. God is good and as many times as I’ve prayed for a windfall to pay off all those awful medical bills and credit cards I know that God uses my poor judgement to teach me my lesson (and hopefully I’ll get it this time). Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier sometimes, especially this time of year. My heart broke when you told about your dear, precious daughter’s lousy day. But you are showing her Jesus, showing how He cares for us even in those awful moments of life.
    You are in my prayers. BTW do you ever read Our Daily Bread?Wednesday, 12/19 is a home run.

  28. Thanks for a beautiful post! My prayers are with you and your family. I appreciate the reminder of what this season is about! God be with you and yours.

  29. Karla, you have touched my heart with your honesty, opening yourself up to all of us who read your writings; I am so glad you did not delete this. I liked what Mike (big brother) had to say and one day Abbie will understand that we all do wear a CHRIST shirt every day. I certainly went through this with our four children and now living on a very limited income, it’s hard purchasing things for all the family, but I do it, much to the chagrin of my bank account. I will be praying for you during this season and throughout the year. Enjoy the time you have with your Mom, Dad and grandmother and your marvelous husband and children.

    Big Hugs To You, Sweet One,
    Mrs. Wetzel

  30. Your blog is absolutely wonderful.

    I will pray for you and your kids…..but try not to dislike the suffering too much.

    CS Lewis said that pain is God’s megaphone to arouse a deaf and careless world. We are all deaf and careless at times. We don’t grow in the easy and “fat” times, but from the painful and troubling times. “The Lord chastens those whom He loves.”

    And for those of us reading who have been poor stewards of resources (of all kinds), your words are a balm to the heart. Thank you for just writing it, and allowing God to be your editor.
    This is a beautiful beautiful post to read on the eve of the Eve of our Lord’s birth.

  31. I understand your feelings about your little girl. Praying for you financially through it all. Thanks for being so transparent. Many may need to read how you are handling this- with God, yet without anger or bitterness.

  32. I love this post and all that you said in it. It really struck a chord in my heart. Thank you for your honesty and know that you are in my thoughts. ((Hugs))

  33. Terri @ in His hands says:

    Late reading, sorry. Crying through your post and comments. God is so good—I see Him working in you and all of your readers. Thank you for sharing your heart. I’m praying for you and your family—-always.

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