Putting Away the Ghosts of Christmases PastFriday, November 28, 2014
This December will be our second Christmas without our daughter and grandchildren in our lives. The thought of that breaks my heart yet again. However, as I’ve shared several times on my blog, God’s love has been a healing salve in my life and He has faithfully stayed by me during this season of heartache. He has blessed me over and over on this journey. And, I want my focus this Christmas to be on Him and not on what I have lost. I know myself and I know the things that trigger memories that lead me down Maudlin Road. I don’t want to go there this year and so, I’ve made a short list of ways to put away my ghosts and put the joy back in Christmas. Well, joy is always in Christmas, so maybe I should reword that to say, “Ways to put the joy back in MY Christmas.”
Christmas is Christ-Mass
First of all, I’m going to remember what Christmas is all about. Beyond Santa, toys and Christmas lights, I am going to be focusing on what Christmas truly is. The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, was an amazing, life altering…no, WORLD-altering event that I don’t want to take lightly. Ironically, in December, many group Bible studies go on break due to the busyness of the season. Personally, I feel that even though that may be convenient, it is not always conductive to keeping our minds focused on Christ during the holidays. So, this year, I am going to be intentional about going deeper in my faith. I am committing to:
- Regularly attend worship services
- Read the book of Luke
- Pick up an Advent study or devotional to go through each day
- Read Max Lucado’s book, God Came Near (a personal favorite)
- Start a scripture journal to chronicle all that I'm learning and receiving from the Lord
- Listen to worship music each day
- Daily be in the Word
- Pray and praise God each day
Set New Traditions
Since some of our family traditions can’t be done anymore I want to set new traditions and make new memories! I’m sure I’ll think of more things to add to this list, but for now, here are some of my ideas:
- Attend community activities such as a Christmas Concert or going to a holiday parade.
- Choose a Christmas charity to give something of myself to.
- Have several fires in our outdoor fireplace and make an evening of it – hot cocoa, Christmas treats, watching the stars.
- Go to a nearby town’s historic center and enjoy the window decorations. Have a nice lunch out.
- Go to Ghirardelli Chocolate factory in San Francisco…Why not?
- Visit a Nursery with a Christmas theme. There’s a great one not far from here and I don’t want to miss the festive feel of the place.
- Dress up and go out to dinner to celebrate Christ’s birth.
- Have friends over for coffee, Christmas cookies and to chat.
- Go away over night on Christmas and celebrate in a new place. (Our reservations are already made and I’m so excited!)
- Go through our Blessing Jar and recount each special gift from the Lord from the past year.
While some traditions will have to go this year due to me not wanting to bring my thoughts back to Christmases past, there are plenty that I’m going to keep, such as:
- Hunting for a Christmas tree
- Decorating the house
- Checking out the Christmas decorations and lights throughout my neighborhood
- Baking treats (and not worrying about the scale)
- Making my “famous” Hot Buttered Rum batter
- Making Christmas crafts for gifts
- Preparing stocking stuffers for my husband
- Watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Because it is!)
- Get plenty of rest
- Not over extend, over spend or over do
- Laugh, laugh and laugh some more
- Praise God for each day
- Celebrate Christ and the miracle of His birth
- Trust Him for His plan
- Keep my focus on God and how He is working in my life
- Remember that I am not alone “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5c)
Have a joy-ful Christmas!