Greetings All! I pray your Holidays are bringing many Blessings. Mine sure did. Like many of you prior to Christmas I was struggling a bit. So today I want to share two of those.
First was the issue of Missing my family and many friends. It wasn’t really Christmas bringing the longing to see them but, it was drawing attention to how long it has been since I have seen them. It had not been my plan when I moved across the country for more than a year to go by and not see them. You see I stayed in last winter planning to take a workcation for a month or so in spring. After all, I was already working remote. My struggle was how hard it is to travel in/out of New York not to mention the question, “should I even be considering travel to California in these crazy times?” I wasn’t concerned with my getting covid, I was concerned I might pick it up and carry it into my family and friends homes. I wasn’t very concerned as I have the good sense God gave me and I do wear my mask, gloves even, & I do respect the social distancing requirements. My concern was that somehow I could unknowingly carry this weird virus to the homes of family and friends. You see many of my friends are older and/or have high risk health issues. So of course I began praying, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me & give me clear signs. It wasn’t long I got my answers. The travel requirements became even more stringent & I could hear nervousness in some friends voices at my flying in. There were some other signs too but the point is, I would not be flying Southwest after all. Then I thought well I can drive to my grandson’s at least, it’s an 8 hr drive but, I wouldn’t be so exposed and he’s only 25 and was fine with the idea. Well, God said, “Nope, you are staying home” The weather forecast shifted 2 days before I planned to leave and it wouldn’t be a safe drive. I was so bummed.
Second struggle was Christmas itself. Should I even be celebrating it? It is not Yeshua birthday & it’s become so commercial and so stressful for many. Especially this year since so many have lost their jobs, fallen ill, and so on. The fact is the majority of it’s traditions stem from pagan holidays. While it is referred to as a Christian Holiday, it is not Biblical at all. However, for me and many, it is a time of sharing Love, time together, and yes Gifts. It is a time of year many donate and show Love to perfect strangers. For many it is a set time to express Joy, Jesus (Yeshua) was born and whether it was his actual Birthday is not the point. And then there is this fact: While the holidays are synonymous with peace, love and joy for many Americans who celebrate, the holiday season is actually filled with physical and emotional discomfort. In fact, 88 percent feel stressed when celebrating the holidays and the average couple will have seven arguments throughout the season, according to new research. Are you seeing the struggle? I know I am not the only one experiencing these struggles. Then pile on top of these, COVID ruining so many family gatherings! Augh! So, as usual I began to Pray asking, “is this a sign I shouldn’t be celebrating this Holiday anyway? Is that part of the point in all the 2020 chaos, our disobedience and being so far off track from your design plan?” Pretty quick, that still small voice within said, ” you have a lot of Christmas cards and photos from days gone by, send them” I thought well if I shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas this is how to use up those cards. So I went thru my tons of pictures pulling out fond memories to send and hopefully bring smiles with the memories. I am a picture nut, real photos, not discs/etc, and for this it really paid off. Then 3 days before Christmas I felt compelled to go by small gifts for each of my immediate neighbors (7 total) . The fact there were Seven brought thoughts, seven often symbolizes completion or perfection, so maybe I was right 2020 is the end of my celebrating Christmas. Is that my answer? The next day, I kept hearing His Word: “my 2nd most important commandment is “Love thy Neighbor as thyself.” This made me look at myself and I realized I love getting cards & little personal gifts at Christmas (anytime actually) so maybe my perception of signs is not correct. So off I went picking out items I thought they would enjoy. While I speak to my neighbors, we don’t really hang out, (well except one my friend Gwen) & 2020 we, the neighbors and I, have barely seen one another. And there was one other issue in this mix, my one neighbor and I had tensions due to his playing his music so loud it rocks my house. Yes, I did ask him to turn it down and no he didn’t respond well but, he did turn it down. I had been praying on how to resolve the tension as I don’t like not getting along with my neighbors. Then on Christmas Eve I went around and handed out my gifts and if not home I left them on the porch or hung them on the door. (I always use gift bags so that was easy). Much to my surprise several of my neighbors had gifts for me too! Even my newest Muslim neighbors had bought me a gift and Islam does not believe in or celebrate Christmas. He said they really appreciated how friendly & welcoming I have been & wanted to share a gift in my faiths season. I went to bed feeling confident it wasn’t about whether I celebrate Christmas Tradition it was about the attitude/intentions of my heart. Then the Very best gift, Blessing actually, was the definitive answer to my struggle which came at 7 AM Christmas morning. The neighbor that I had tensions with, he rang my bell to give me a gift with a beautiful apology for being so disrespectful and rude earlier in the fall. It took all I had not to break down and cry. I of course forgave him, we shook hands (yes, shook hands) & it hit me just how much God had answered my prayers including waking up to a White Christmas, which made the visit from the neighbor even more special, he had come over thru the 3 inches of snow and cold to give me the gift. I closed my door giving thanks and praise and yes cried tears of Joy on this Christmas 2020!
I will end this post with something my fabulous boss says, “Life is 10% of what you make it and 90% of how you take it” . I could have stayed in my bummer state of being, frustrated and confused OR I could pray & trust God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would come show the The Way. Once again it was revealed: The Answer to it all is as Yeshua (Jesus) said in Matt 22:36-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”. It was made clear to me, It’s not about man’s perceptions or traditions, it’s about walking in Love and that my friends is the answer to all things!
I love theology, even though it did make me struggle a little this year, so for those that might be interested this video provides the history of Christmas. (1) The Christmas Question: Full Documentary – YouTube
I pray your Holidays and this post bring a bit of Joy and Love as we wind down 2020! Shalom
PS: Know I am not trying to sway your views, what I share is my experiences & knowledge I’ve come across. After that your choices are between you and God, just as my choice & the path I take is between me & God.