I was at Opry Mills mall in Nashville several years ago having a girls’ shopping day with my two college age daughters. I left them behind and ventured on, tiring of all those stores where the music was blaring and the lights were too bright. I went in Bass Pro Shop; that’s when it hit me. Everything about that store reminds me of my dad. After so many years, one would think that the pain would lessen but no. Every man over sixty wearing a baseball cap turns into agony. I stayed until I just couldn’t any longer. I bolted for the door as fast as I could.
Let me be clear: my father is still with us, but many years ago at a Sunday School Christmas party, he had a stroke that changed everything. My mother is now his care taker. He went from being retired, independent and active in his church to home bound and requiring assistance. My mother and father are my heroes, and my mother shows us all what true love looks like.
Every year, a meltdown is inevitable. I love Christmas, but memories come flooding back every year and I must deal with them. The pain never gets better. God’s grace and comfort seem to increase. I want to be happy and joyful in this season, but it no longer comes naturally. The enemy would have me to wallow in a pit of sorrow, but I will not. I choose joy.
If you share this piece of my journey and struggle with the blues during the holiday season, and I am finding many people who do, remember the following:
- I will not let my circumstances determine my joy. I will take every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Sometimes when I have no more words to pray and I am overcome with emotion, I just keep repeating, “Jesus is my only hope.” He is. (1 Peter 1:3)
- I simply refuse to be shaken because I remember that nothing separates us from the love of God. The victory is already ours through Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:31-39)
So let’s celebrate. Sing those carols loudly, and let joy swell in your soul. If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, someday we will be with Christ forever, but this side of heaven we can feel His loving arms wrapping around us and saying, “It’s going to be ok.”
“I am going to give you exactly what you need at the moment you need it,” God gently whispered to my heart that day as I was bolting from Bass Pro Shop. As I finally made it to the mall joining an ocean of Christmas shoppers, my eyes met my two daughters who were standing approximately 10 feet away from me. “Mom!”, they yelled, smiling. There stood what I needed at the moment.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
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