Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Dis-ease of Christmas

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that __________"

my reputation won't be ruined by this unplanned pregnancy
that my husband won't divorce me
that my family won't disown me
that my girlfriends' will still want to have coffee with me
that the boys' won't throw stones at me.
Like I don't have enough going on, now we have to pack for a 70 plus mile road trip to our home town because the governor wants a head count.
You're kidding? This couldn't wait till after I gave birth?
I hope we can find an affordable place to take a bath and sleep off the trip.

My husband reports he found us a room. I can't wait, my back is killing me.
What? You're kidding right?
This is all they have?  A manager with hay. We're putting our newborn baby in that?
And where are we going to sleep? Honey, I'm tired, aching and filthy from the dust.
I'm pregnant for God's sake. How do you spell Non-Comfort-Inn? 
Never mind mints, they don't even have a pillow, no bath, no nothing except smelly animals. This isn't exactly the Honey-Moon-Suite.

This wasn't what I pictured as newly weds. I had different dreams...
perhaps a young Bethlehem bride thought.

Does your day, month or year ever look like this?

How did it go for you when you planned; your wedding, graduation, children, guests, wallpaper, a vacation, a party, a job, your dreams? I've had seasons that interrupted what I thought was a great idea . A season like above can take the wind out of my sails, attempting to squash my creativity, soul and strength. Therefore, I must guard my heart.

It occurred to me every event has three stages. BEFORE, DURING and AFTER. 
They bring planning, expectation, anxiety, excitement, avoidance, frustration, giddy, yearning, enthusiasm, celebration, mountain top, valley low, depleted, filled, longing, satisfied, dissatisfied, reflection and more.

Each stage plays out differently for everyone because
 we bring to the event our own expectations built on our 
dreams or reality or our own brokenness.

What about the season of Christmas?
No matter how one celebrates this event, it is an event that is planned.
You make plans to celebrate or plans to avoid.

And of all the events, it seems when Thanksgiving leads us into Christmas which enters us into a new year, a funny thing happens. Our human spirit stirs up joy, grief, tears, laughter, heartbreak, confusion, gifts, wrapping, giving, taking, music, dance, love, hate, fellowship, food, singing, praise, man-made religions, sobbing, photos, colors, fragrance, odors. Celebration. Mourning. Frenzied as we yearn for simplicity. Prayer and unity to comfort death and loss. Dark seeking light.

Maybe you were laid off, divorced, pregnant, infertile, robbed, hurt, lost a pet, angry, abused, fighting a disease, had a death, bullied, family strain, missing a loved one - dead or alive.  Perhaps you feel alone and isolated, like no one understands and you don't understand those who celebrate.

During this traditionally festive time of year, doubt can creep and roam like a lion seeking to devour every last drop of your spirit.

How can this be? Christmas is filled with good cheer! Isn't it?

  • the state of being comfortable
  • freedom from pain or discomfort
  • freedom from care
  • freedom from labor or difficulty
  • freedom from embarrassment or constraint 
I imagine this couldn't be more opposite of what a pregnant woman on a 70 mile trek experienced.

http://tammysuewilley.blogspot.com/ My own home life offered tension and chaos, not ease.

Raised by an abusive father, there were no sugar plums dancing in my head or nostalgic memories of drinking hot cocoa and singing Christmas carols with my family. Dad was a musician, yet where was he? Not playing jingle bells. Probably at the bar drinking, if not sending us to our room. If I go backwards to four year old memories; there is ribbon candy, tinsel on trees, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer on black and white TV and my mother's traditional manger with nativity scene.


"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that __________"

my dad wouldn't pull me down stairs
or drag me by my hair.
In hopes that he'd put away his belt
instead of leaving big red welts.
In hopes that he'd let me snuggle on his lap
instead of shoving me,
smack smack, smack.
In hopes that the homemade Christmas gifts  which brought us all together wouldn't shatter on the floor
but they did 
when he burst through the door.
In hopes that we'd get through a meal
without drama or strain 
and perhaps this time
instead of throwing us out of the house...again...he might refrain.

Thinking about my personal life and listening to others share their woes, it seems more people than not enter into the Christmas season with dis-ease rather than ease.

Have you ever wondered why Christmas seems to magnify ones loss and sadness?
Why it brings out the best or the worst in us?

My "nut-shell" thoughts:

I suggest more people than not have an innate desire to love, help, be kind, fix and give of themselves but when we meet the opposite, we get hurt and confused so we search, fix and create how to remedy this. That remedy comes in many forms.

From there I suggest we put unrealistic expectations on people as if this time of year will correct and heal all that was or is wrong in our life as if their shoulders will be big enough to carry our burdens and fix "it" for us. Whatever "it" is.

Regardless of ones claimed belief it's peculiar that this holiday, which revolves around the birth of a baby, can elicit the most depression and darkness.

I can imagine Mary, a young mother with an unplanned pregnancy, felt depressed and uncertain for a period of time. I mean her culture could have stoned her to death. How interesting that during this dark time of her life, she was about to give birth to the light of our world.

When faced with challenging times of uncertainty, how do we get through it?
We get through by going through.

Consider the Butterfly. The strength and delicate beauty of a butterfly comes from the struggle it had to endure, alone. In dark solitude it learned to flex and strengthen its muscles before it burst into the light as a new creation. If someone helps the butterfly break free from the cocoon, it will die because it didn't learn how to grow strong on its own.

When we seek that remedy to fix the hole in our hearts,
could it be the safety of the garden we are
ultimately trying to get back to?

The good news is we no longer have to search for a remedy or hope. 
Hope was delivered to us.

We just have to invite Him in and believe in the light of his message even on our darkest days. In spite of all odds, I am glad that this young couple, Mary and Joseph, didn't give up on the message they were asked to deliver.

Otherwise it would be a hopeless dark.

http://tammysuewilley.blogspot.com/Perhaps the dis-ease that comes with Christmas isn't abnormal but rather an event that stirs something in us to remind us we are very much alive.

Perhaps when we think we are on our darkest doorstep, maybe that frustration is God knocking on our hearts to remind us he is there and that Hope has been delivered to us.

And that we are being strengthened and prepared to "get through" and burst out of our cocoon into the light of a new season.

Maybe if we let go of our stronghold's 
and expectation's 
that we put on the holiday's and people,


 healing can begin and

we might recognize the

Garden Light's of Christmas!






If you were to finish this sentence,
what before and after would your story reveal?
"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that ___________"

Did you know that advent means the coming of someone notable?

It's interesting that when we plan an event we hang a string of lights or put lights in windows or light a few candles to light the way for our guests and welcome them with a festive spirit.

On our dark days, Jesus wants you to invite him in so He can hang that string of lights for you. Light will overcome darkness if we let Him in.

Biblegateway: that my husband won't divorce me
CatholicIreland.net : take a 70+ mile road trip to our home town 
Biblegateway: the governor wants a head count
Biblegateway: that we find an affordable place to take a bath and sleep off the trip.
Biblegateway: A manager with hay.
Biblegateway: Therefore, I must guard my heart
Biblegateway: doubt can creep and roam like a lion seeking to devour every last drop of your spirit.
Merriam Webster Online Dictionary: Merriam Webster defines EASE as:
Butterfly: The story of a Butterfly and Codependency
Butterfly: Why did the Butterfly die (Pediatrics)
Biblegateway: depression and darkness
Biblegateway: the light of our world.
Biblegateway: Mary and Joseph, didn't give up on the message they were asked to deliver.
Biblegateway: Otherwise it would be a hopeless dark.
Advent: Noah Webster 1828 definition
Advent: Merriam Webster definition

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