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Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Can we just appreciate real life in this photo? Nothing says real like taking what you think is a pretty photo and discovering your phone charger sneaking out. Aye!

Last year, I was not in my typical Holiday spirit self.

The holidays are my favorite time of year. I absolutely get caught up in the magic, beauty and wonder of Christmas and the victorious message of the birth of Jesus.

But last year was rough. It was hard for me to get out of the fog I found myself living in day in and day out throughout that entire year. I don't know that I have ever felt deep sorrow and loneliness during the holidays as much as I did last year. I suddenly found myself understanding why there are people who dread this time of year......because it hurts their heart so deeply.

How can people find joy and feel warmth when their entire life and circumstances seem so cold and dreary?

That is not an easy question to navigate through. I have a tendency to, at first, talk a great deal about all the issues, and then the next couple of weeks, appear like I am just fine. When in reality, I am dying inside. Emotions are hard. Hardships suck. And the holidays often can make them feel much bigger than they really are.

But I am working through choosing to not wallow in what I do not have, currently, and give a great deal of my attention on what I have and what I get to experience.

With Thanksgiving now past us and Christmas rapidly approaching, I thought it would be beneficial to share what I am ever so grateful for currently.

1. I am so grateful for a job and a roof over our heads. We aren't sleeping on the streets, and that is definitely something to rejoice over.

2. I have some insanely good friends who have stepped up to care and love me right where I am at. Even when I act like I don't want to be invited, and even when I give off the appearance that I am fine and I don't need to talk about my feelings, they show up. They have been generous with their time, hearts and gifts and I really do appreciate this. As an 8 on the Enneagram, I don't often ask for help or advice, because a lot of the time, I know what to do and how to figure things out. It is nice to know that I have friends who know this about me and still want to support me and love me without trying to control me or make me do things I don't want to do.

3. That there is hope. There is a chance for forgiveness and restoration I am wrestling through forgiveness, even though it has not been asked of me to forgive them. I tend to hold on to the betrayal I have experienced and it creates resentment in my heart. I don't want to live that way. And God has been showing me a lot about how my desire to control in order to protect can be a weapon instead of an instrument.

I want to be a snow plow, not a bulldozer. I want to be a part of making a way, not tearing apart.

But, what about those of you who are grieving loss, a loss that can’t be restored no matter how much you hope?

I pray that there is joy in the midst of the ache. While sadness and grief are part of the norm while we are here on earth, we must remember that earth is not our final home. This life is temporary. My family has lost two of our grandmothers within this past year and it is hard no matter how you look at it.

No amount of hoping and wishing will bring them back, but we can choose to celebrate the very things that bring us joy. The holidays, while immensely hard at times, are a perfect time to do so.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were the favorites of our grandmothers. I know they loved the gift buying for their grandkids (and great grandkids! How wonderful that my kids got to love on them as much as I did). I know they loved the baked goods, especially my Grandma Rush….she had a mean sweet tooth! Actually, come to think of it, so did my Grandma Uribe. (Ha! The mystery has been solved as to why my kids have a monstrous sweet tooth). But I truly believe that what they loved the most was that during this time of year, their family was around more.

They were surrounded by them. They got to see everyone. Even if they didn’t participate in all the activities, I would often just stare at either one of them and watch as they gaze around the room and just have a smile on their face. They were happy to be there.

Ugh, and now I can barely see the screen because that very thought makes me emotional.

In the same breath, that brings me joy. I am excited to celebrate this holiday season, even though I really miss my grandmothers. I am hopeful and ready to do all the things that lift my heart upward, even though I am forced to scale back a little bit. I am excited to spend time with family and do the magical things I love doing this time of year, even though it might be a little bit awkward and different.

You can still do those beautiful things, even if it makes your heart ache a tiny bit because it will be different. Loss, heartache, uncertainty, struggle. It will change the scenery a bit.

But it doesn’t have to destroy your heart, your perspective, or your faith.

Choosing joy alongside you all whose holidays might be a little different this year.

With Hope,


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