I remember from the time that I was a little girl until I was in my thirties, my grandparents always had the family over on Christmas. I looked forward to it with so much anticipation as a child. Grazing the dessert table was my favorite thing to do. I am sure that by the end of the day I was bouncing off of the walls with surges of sugar-energy.
Lunch was always served promptly at 12:00 noon and there were mountains of leftovers that we would snack on all day.
We would arrive before noon and there would be large piles of presents under the Christmas tree. As the crowds of people arrived, the piles of presents would grow, so us children would spend equal amounts of time between the tree, searching for our personal presents and sneaking what we could from the dessert table.
We always had to wait until after lunch cleanup was finished to open the gifts and it was so hard to wait. But finally the time to open them would come. The women would come into the den drying their hands on dish towels and one of the son in laws or uncles would be given the job to hand out the gifts one at a time.
As I became an adult, my grandmother enlisted me to be her Christmas lunch preparation helper. Sometimes I would go to her house 1 or 2 days in advance in order to help with everything. As I got older, she gave me more important jobs to do, making more important things like the dressing and the giblet gravy, etc. etc. to the point of some of my younger sisters or cousins being jealous of me.
Those times were very special to me and as I became older I dreamed of carrying on the family traditions. I never doubted that I would not carry them on.
When my grandpa died, I was in my early forties and things changed. Granny sold her house and moved to be closer to her daughters.
It left me wondering what to do during the holidays and for a few years I tried to recreate what I had experienced as a child. Things just never turned out the ways that I imagined them and at some point I sort of gave up.
For the last several years, Christmas day has been different for us every year. Mr. Joe and I. Things have changed. Empty nest and all.
There is one thing that I have never been and that is pushy. As the kids grew up and left home, I had certain desires in my heart but I never voiced them. I wanted to be with the children and grandchildren on certain holidays, I wanted to be remembered on Mother’s Day and I wanted them to want to be with me on Christmas Day, but I didn’t want any of the children to feel like coming to see me or calling me on certain days was drudgery or duty. I wanted them to desire to be with me and it seemed that their desires were to be with others besides me.
After a few years of this, I started trying to find fulfillment in other activities and honestly it has been hard. I never complained but it was rather depressing. We were invited on occasion to other people’s activities but it was not really very special because I always had the dreams of having my own personal traditions that had never come to full fruition.
I have gotten to a place where it is no longer depressing although it is a little lonely at times.
I no longer dread the holidays or see them as a big black cloud looming over me.
As some of you know, last year I focused on Hope.
The hope that I had was the HOPE in the promises of God and the return of prodigals and restoration of relationships that have been stolen from me.
This year along with the HOPE that God has planted in me and the freshness of renewal that this year has brought, FAITH is my focus.
This is the kind of Faith:
Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven…Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
“Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.”
“Because of your faith, it will happen.”
“Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
(all of the above references are taken from Matthew chapters 9 and 15)
This is the kind of Faith I am talking about and the level that God is taking me…
I am believing Him and asking for restoration of the things that have been stolen from me!
I am believing Him and asking Him for justification.
I am believing in Faith and asking Him in Faith for a large family who wants to be with me and spend the holidays with Mr. Joe and I for the rest of my life.
This year has brought so many blessings on the heels of the Hope He planted in me last year. It has brought restoration of my own personal identity that was stolen from me when I was a child. It has brought a brand new home and many new grandchildren for me to love on. There is the promise of new sons and daughters, new friends, new meaning to this old life that may have given up a couple of years ago.
Still hope for the past to be restored to what it was meant to be but never was.
There is the promise of new horizons and different colors, different hues, rainbows never before seen in faraway places where I have never been.
Many promises…on the heels of Hope.
What then will be on the heels of this new level of Faith?
Only time will tell, only He knows the future, but I do know something.
Only good awaits! His good!
Love and blessings to you,