By Joan Kelley, oneLifemaps Facilitator
I'm starting to realize Christmas is approaching very quickly. I know this is not a real news flash for any of you, but it just kind of hit me in the last week. I saw final touches being done on decorations outside people's homes. I had to run an errand at Target, and it was oozing with candy canes and Santa Claus. I received the first few Christmas cards in the mail. The forecast is for cold and snow. I turned on the radio, and it was all Christmas. You see Christmas at our house feels different this year, because my 16 year old son, Will, was diagnosed with leukemia a few months ago. I cannot even begin to explain to you where my heart is at this year as we enter December. It's basically been living on the outside of my body since about June. I have to admit it's a bit hard to go out of my home sometimes, carrying this raw emotion and enter the “real” world of “ho-ho-ho!” It's a bit overwhelming and reminds me that we are walking in a very different stripped-down model of life at our house.
But in contrast to the world, my mind and heart, today at least, are at peace – I'm not frantic because lists aren't made, presents bought, Christmas cards written, travel plans made, cookies in the works, parties planned. It really makes no difference this year, and I have to admit it feels right and pure and simple. It's funny the things that God can teach you through cancer. However as I enter this outside world, I find myself wanting to shout, “Excuse me shoppers. Can I have your attention? Don't you get it? Stop and think about it! It's not about the gifts. It's about the baby.”
My friend, Gayle, shared this story that happened at their Christmas Eve service. “There were some young people in attendance with special needs. One of them in the middle of service shouted out, “It's Jesus' Birthday!!” He sounded so excited. Of course, people looked around. The mother was so embarrassed, but it brought tears to my eyes. How excited are we to celebrate Jesus' birthday? It seems to do just the opposite -- it brings stress about gifts, who's going where when, what are we having to eat, how many people will be there, and the list goes on. We should all take three seconds or three minutes and shout with joy -- IT'S JESUS' BIRTHDAY!!"
“The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."'” --Luke 2:10-12
How can you become more excited and joyful about the baby and less distracted about the ways of the world this Christmas?