I am struggling!
I so want to write about the wonderful anticipation and joy I am feeling about the approaching season of Christmas but I am just not there. My thoughts are crowded by all the pain and hurt that the world keeps doing to each other and the distance from my extended family seems greater than ever this year.
I am a Christmas fan. I love everything about it. I love the music. I love the food. I love the decorations. I love the mail. I love the gift buying and wrapping. But most of all I love the gift giving. Gift giving is my thing. I find it so hard to describe the utter joy I get from finding exactly the right thing for the right person and then seeing the joy on the face of the recipient when they open the gift. Don’t get me wrong – I love to receive gifts too but nothing gives me joy like giving!
Can you imagine, then, how suffering from extreme anxiety has played havoc with my Christmas preparations? Gone is the ability to wander aimlessly around the shopping centres and malls, waiting for the right gift to jump out at me, shouting “Pick me! Pick me!” Gone is the joy of last minute late night shopping excursions for food. No more do I have the “gay abandon” to play my Carols loud and long.
I am plagued by what if’s and maybe’s and almost’s! I may have found the right gift for the right person but it is yet to be wrapped – in case I find something better! The CD may be in the player but it is not playing, in case I offend my neighbours. My fridge is full of homemade goodies but what if they are not tasty enough to share? Alternatively, some gifts have not yet been bought because the drive to the shop seems too hard. Or posting the cards and parcels will probably be to late now – so why bother at all? And church – where do I begin?
All my life, Christmas has stemmed from my belief that Jesus is the reason for the season! I know that the babe in a manger and the love freely given that day is and should be the focus. But when your concentration is so shot to pieces that you have trouble walking the 100 metres down the drive to get your mail from your letterbox – it is sometimes too hard to get to church and sing his praises. It doesn’t mean I love Him any less!
So, as I stand in my almost completely, decorated home, next to my almost completely trimmed Christmas tree, with many gifts waiting to be wrapped and some still waiting to be bought. I try to focus on the things I have completed and not that my house needs a clean or Mt Washmore is once again threatening to have a landslide or my yard is not a pretty sight! I try to celebrate my have done’s not my still to do’s!
And if I do make it to church during the Christmas season, try not to think poorly of those Christmas & Easter worshippers! Stop for a moment and consider what it may have taken for them to actually get there! And if you do receive a gift from me this year – know what it has taken to get it for you. You are one of my special ones that have forced me out of my safe place – to take the risk because I think you are worth it!
Kind of like how God sent that tiny babe at Christmas.