I’m one of those gals who looks forward every year to November rolling around so I can head to Facebook and post 30 days’ worth of every little thing I’m grateful for. But this year…This has been a tough year. You know those tests you take that rate your stress level depending on how many large-scale life crises you’ve endured the past year? Let’s just say my score was so high I couldn’t add it in my head.
I became divorced this year after my husband moved in with another woman, only to watch them break up shortly thereafter and him end up in jail. And before I could catch my breath from that whirlwind affair, I became ill, had to go on short term disability and ended up resigning from my job. And in the midst of all that fun, my stepfather suddenly passed. Some years are just harder than others…
So when November rolled around this year, I just didn’t have it in me to come up with pithy platitudes and cute pictures to gush up my Facebook wall – I decided to leave that pleasure to those who fared better than I in 2018.
Just as I was set to grin and bear my way through the holiday season, wouldn’t you know this would be the year my 15-year-old son, who endured the choppy waters this year tossed our way right along with me, decided he was going to ring in the Christmas season before his candy bucket was cold. Christmas songs blare from his speakers the minute his eyes open, and he ends his day, every single day, watching someone’s Christmas wish come true on the Hallmark channel. A teenage boy watching the Hallmark channel, I tell you! If he had his way, the tree would have been up a week ago!
This morning I was awakened to sounds of bells jingling, the smell of French toast rolls sizzling, and my son whistling a snappy seasonal song. The wind outside my window was whipping around a whirlwind of yellow, red and orange leaves, and peace like a river, quite unbidden, flowed through my soul. From out of nowhere, John 16:33 came to mind: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)
Suddenly, the hope, promise, and joy that accompany the birth of our Savior were all that mattered. That my son figured this out before I did brought home to me Jesus’s words, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14 NIV)
I know some of you don’t want to even think about Christmas until after we celebrate our national day of giving thanks, but this year I learned why some people start celebrating as soon as there’s a nip in the air – our world desperately needs the hope only the birth of Christ can bring.