Twas the night before…

Not the Christmas I expected but the one I’m getting. Several of us have spend the last 24 hours struggling with tummy issues but I think this evening, finally, most of us (everyone but me) is turning a corner.

Late afternoon I received a text from a friend whose gone through an incredibly rough year. Thing after thing…just a total string of disappointments professionally, personally, spiritually you name it. It seemed that things would turn around with a recent development, but alas, it has fallen through and this friend is devastated. And faith, is flagging. Not everyone can endure suffering all the time with the strength of Job. My heart broke for this friend as I read the text knowing how badly something positive was needed. And knowing all I could and can do is pray. Maybe this heartache in 2013 will lead to wonderful reward in 2014. I was reminded of what a broken, grieving, hurting world we live in even as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. And how only when He comes again will our hearts be relieved of this pain.

But this Christmas we will celebrate two engagements. Jeff’s brother Max got engaged in September to his girlfriend Sarah and tonight my brother Ben called me to tell me he proposed to his girl friend Lee Ellen and they are engaged now. Wow, no wedding activity in either family for 4 years and now 2, one on each side! We are super excited and love both Sarah and Lee Ellen and can’t wait for them to join our family.

It seemed for a while that Christmas this year might never get here. And that wasn’t always a bad thing. As we faced down mounting car repairs in November, a dead computer, and so many other ridiculous obstacles that I literally threw my hands in the air and said, “Okay, God, what else?” In this season of my life God is determined to show me to trust His will and what He wants and wow that is so much easier said than done. As I contemplate our Savior’s birth and reflect on my personal journey toward it this year, I am in awe of how good God truly is. How He guides us and grants us His grace and mercy. How even in the midst of such struggling, I can see His hand working even if I have no idea of the purpose. I hear my four-year-old sing each morning, “Good morning God,  This is Your Day, I am Your child, Show me Your way,” and realize it really is that simple. Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be open unto you…it is so simple my four-year-old knows it. But embracing it is an adult task and not an easy one at all.

Like so many of my friends, this year, I just slowed down for Advent. I stopped worrying about how, again, we didn’t have a Jesse tree or a liturgically appropriate Advent Calendar. I did what I could. I let God do the rest. It was liberating and joyful and yes, actually stressful at times. But in the end, I wouldn’t change anything. God gave me the Advent I needed and was supposed to have. And the Christmas season will be so much more wonderful as a result.

May God Bless you and your family this Christmas and entire holiday season.