Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday Thoughts

This time of year is rough.  I really can't explain it, but even Christmastime is hard.  Those of you who know me know that we do not celebrate Christmas.  We stopped celebrating it when Sarah was only 7, so William never knew anything of it.  Yet, it's still harder to get through without him here.
In some ways, grief has softened me.  It's made me more sensitive to the needs of those around me.  It's made me deeply aware of their sorrows.  It's made me more apt to reach out to the suffering.

But in other ways, it's hardened me.  I am impatient with people who show a lack of concern for others.  I resent pettiness.  I am more cynical of people and more apt to withdraw or stay home.

Maybe that's why this time of year is so hard.  People on both sides of the Christmas argument have no patience for one another.  There is little love shown.  People talk about sharing Christ's love but what they really mean is doing it when it's easy, when their desires are met.  People seem to care more about taking up an offense or nursing the chip on their shoulder rather than loving one another.  It makes me more tired than usual.

But in the midst of watching Christians tear each other apart and families with their aggravations, there have been gestures of greatness.  Twice this season we have been invited to something wonderful, even though our friends weren't sure we would attend.  I'm thankful.  I'm so, so thankful for the friends who reach out to us, knowing we might say no.  I'm ever-so-grateful for the friends who are able to take the risk without allowing it to make them feel judged.  I am unbelievably humbled by those friends who make some changes to their plans in order to accommodate my convictions and include me.

You know what the "reason for the season" is?  It's Christ.  For this season, for every season.  And Christ cares about our relationships.  Reach out to someone hurting today.  It doesn't even have to be a stranger.  I'd bet you know someone within your close realm of influence who could use some extra grace.  Be that "cup of cold water" someone needs...

And to those who have done that for us, thank you.  Your grace gives me such a deep love and admiration for you.  And makes this season bearable.

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