Thursday, November 29, 2007
ITS THAT TIME OF YEAR
My dear friend Kelly has such a way with words. She often has me cracking up with her wacky stories. She can take something as everyday as mannequins at the mall and make them into an adventure into hilarity. She also has a huge heart and can use her words to not only amuse, but to teach, encourage, and in some cases, remind me of very important things. Recently, she started a blog and a recent entry fits into that latter category:
"The year was 1992. We had three small children and were living in a 800 sq. ft. 2 bedroom cottage in southern California. We were part of a small group through our church and we were hosting a Christmas Eve get together in our home after which we all planned to go to the midnight Christmas Eve service together. That morning I took my 5 month old son to the doctor. He had developed pneumonia but not a severe case where he needed to be hospitalized. We were told to keep him home. We had planned to drive down to my grandparent’s in San Diego on Christmas day. Pay day was the day after Christmas that year and I spent the remainder of our money on food for our little party since I hadn’t planned on us being home on Christmas day. However, I wasn’t worried because I thought there would be leftovers. Not a crumb was left!
We will never forget our Christmas dinner. I had helped with a breakfast at church not long before and we made these egg casseroles. I didn’t have the recipe but thought that I would be able to recreate the dish. It didn’t exactly turn out. Number one, I didn’t have all of the ingredients. Number two, the bread I used was a very healthy and dense whole wheat variety. Number three, I burned it. We literally had nothing else to eat.
We will also never forget something else from that day. The day before had been very cold but Christmas day was beautiful and sunny with temps in the 70's. Our son had really turned the corner and was doing much better. We decided to walk with the kids to a nearby park. Our girls were 2 and 3 and we had bought them a wagon and a tricycle that my husband had stayed up all night assembling. We had a wonderful time as our girls joyous squeals rang through the air. They had no expectations of what Christmas day was supposed to be like or what kind of things you were supposed to eat or where you were supposed to go. They were happy with the day exactly as it was.
Near the park was a little overpass and under the overpass were several homeless people. There was a lady in a green skirt and they had a tiny Christmas tree next to their cardboard box shelter. I did not notice them until we had been at the park for awhile. I was taken back by the sight. They seemed happy and were laughing. And I felt shame. I felt shame for the attitude I had had and for not being grateful for all the good things in my life.
There is much about Christmas and the whole Christmas season that I love. I love the decorations and the lights. I love re-connecting with family and friends. I love the music and the church services and taking the time to focus on the birth of our savior. I love all the holiday food. However, I hate the commercialism and the stress that this time of year places on families that have a hard enough time just making it the rest of the year. I hate the burden I see in some people's faces as I go about my business around town. I hate that this time of year produces the highest suicide rates.
I don't know what to do about it.
I saw a woman crying in her car yesterday. It's odd when you are just driving around town, minding your own business, and you see someone laid bare like that at a stop light. I don't know why she was crying. She could have just lost someone. She could have just been told she has cancer. She could have a sick child. I don't know. It occurred to me that she could be stressed by Christmas. Whatever the reason, I was profoundly moved."
I pray that I'll remember Kelly's words this season and not get so wrapped up in the busyness that I forget the most important things...such as loving those around me who need someone to care about them thru words, actions, prayers, gifts...showing them the love of Jesus thru tangible ways that show they are not forgotten.
Thank you, Kelly.
Kelly's blog: http://laughingalwayshelps.blogspot.com/