|Posted on December 21, 2018 at 6:00 AM|
Free image from Vistaprint.
I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you about Christmas this year as I look over at our pencil Christmas tree. If you remember from an previous blog post, I couldn’t handle putting up our larger, fluffier tree due to Christmas blues, i.e. lingering grief. So I bought an Alpine pencil tree that is shorter and a bit scruffy in comparison. For some reason, decorating anyway helps. Living in an apartment dictates having a smaller tree anyway. I got our nativity out and we've been doing Advent with our Advent wreath. It feels like Christmas now!
What helps me with the Christmas blues even more than decorating, is having family gather in our new house, which isn’t finished yet. My oven should be wired and ready to cook a delicious ham and small turkey breast with my family recipe of baked macaroni and cheese, wild rice with mushrooms, lots of veggies, and fruit. The aroma wafting through the air will greet everyone who comes in our door. We look forward to having family up from Ohio along with a sweet dog. A week later we will have grandsons over. The best part is that everyone in our family loves Jesus. Christmas has a greater meaning for all of us than twinkling lights and Christmas gifts. Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 NIV. Yes, Jesus will be there, too.
So, in the midst of preparations, I got glutened—meaning cross-contamination with gluten—at a local coffee shop. I met a friend for coffee and ordered an unsweetened iced tea. I usually order black coffee or iced tea without a problem, until two days ago. Ugh! Within the hour after drinking my tea, my stomach hurt, I felt dizzy, and achy. I went to the gym nearby thinking it might help me feel better. Boy, was I wrong! I only spent 3 minutes on the elliptical when my legs screamed at me to stop. The lady at the check in counter had a puzzled look as she watched me exit much sooner than normal. I was so exhausted and dazed that I crashed into bed for 2 hours when I arrived home. I am still suffering the effects of what was probably a lack of thought when a worker brewed the tea. It doesn’t take much to cause someone with celiac disease to become ill. At any rate, that is why this blog post was late.
In the meantime, all these notifications on my iPhone keep saying, “Final Hours for this Deal”, and on, and on, and on. Ping, ping, ping! Ha-ha! My Christmas shopping is DONE. All my shopping list needed was at a better deal a couple weeks ago. I worked in retail too long to fall for those “urgent” notices. It is only urgent for the retailer, not me. I came to the point of hating Christmas when I worked in stores. Not good for Christians. For the non-believers, that’s all there is about Christmas, except for food. You can’t forget the food. And the alcohol. Gee whiz! You don't need alcohol at any celebration. Period. I’m glad Jesus is the reason to celebrate because He gives meaning to this holiday.
I will be in and out this next week, so posts will be erratic. Even bloggers need a vacation. I hope you get the rest you need, too.
Here are a few insights I would like to share with you for a Merry and bright Christmas:
• Enjoy the feast on the day of your celebration. Get a little bit of everything you want, but don’t go back for seconds. The Bible tells us about feasts. Feasts were done out of thanksgiving with gladness to remember important events, in this case, Jesus’ birth. Feasts had a period of time, then they were done. Enjoy the feast, but let the feast end when the celebration is done. Hit the gym the next day and go back to eating healthy. If you hold steady with your weight and your health numbers look good, you have done well.
• Christmas celebrations are like walking through a mine field for people with celiac/gluten intolerance, food allergies, diabetes, and epilepsy. We do love our favorite treats, but it isn’t just for us, it is also for family and friends who gather with us. All of these will be present at our Christmas celebration. Don’t spoil the day out of selfishness. Find out what they can or cannot have. If you aren’t sure how to accommodate their needs, ask them bring food that is safe for them to eat. If you know someone with epilepsy or seizure disorders who will be coming, don’t have a strobe light display. Find out what could trigger a seizure and leave it unplugged. Make it a safe celebration for everyone.
• Extend grace to everyone as best as possible. Wherever there are a variety of personalities gathering in one place, you are bound to have some clashes. Children never behave the way you want, so think like one of your little guests as you clean and arrange the space where they will play. We will have 4—yes, 4—people with ADD/HD in one place this weekend. I guarantee there will not be a dull moment. People with ADD/HD need something to do or fidget with. We used to set out bar puzzles, a Rubik’s cube, the Philosopher’s Knot, and other great ADD-friendly gadgets. Everyone loves them!
• Is there someone you know who is lonely or hurting at Christmas? If so, invite them to celebrate with you or take Christmas to them. This is a tough time for people who have lost a loved one, those who are poor or lost jobs, the elderly, and people who may be new to your community.
• Remember that Jesus is our Guest. Invite Jesus in through prayer and read the Christmas story. Anticipate His presence just as Anna and Simeon did while serving at the temple in Luke 2:22-40. They served in the Temple every day for a very long time. They knew the Messiah was yet to come and one day, He did. When each of them realized that baby Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah told about by the Prophets, these faithful servants instantly praised God and were glad to see Him before they died. Do you long to see Him? Is He a welcome Guest in your home? Would He be honored by the conversations you have? Do we honor Him when we celebrate His birthday?
What are some of your Christmas traditions?
Have a blessed Christmas season!