It’s Over. I survived another Christmas

I won’t lie, December 24th and 25th are difficult days for me.  As a Christian, I know it’s about the birth of our Lord and Savior, but it hurts every year when Christmas Eve and Christmas Day come and my husband and I have no family to spend the holidays.  His grown children disowned him when he married me.  My nephews have moved across the country with families of their own. This year, I lost my ex-brother-in-law to cancer back in May. I lost my God-parents three years ago and Three years ago next week, one of my close friends committed suicide.  Those were the few people we shared Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong,  I love the season.  Working in a private school, the children are still allowed to sing Christmas carols, make gifts for their parents, and decorate the huge  Christmas tree that stands in the hallway.  The staff does “Secret Santa” and every year we have a staff Christmas party hosted by our boss. I love to entertain, so I decorate the house and host our bible study group one night in December. But those two days are reminders that it’s just the two of us with no fellowship with others. However, there is a silver lining in all of this.

Back in August, my husband and I began following the Ketosis diet.  We splurged tonight and had shared a baked potato with our ham and green beans. What a treat that was. No candy, cookies, pies or specialty desserts this year.  We are grateful we won’t fight the five or more pounds we gain between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. We also didn’t max out our credit cards on gifts.

Yesterday,  I kept my mind on the birth of Jesus and gave thanks to God for giving us the best gift ever. I also lit a candle and said a prayer for those who are no longer with us, and for all others who have no homes due to the Campfire in California.

Today, the tree came down and the decorations have been put away for another year. December 26th is a regular day.  I don’t return to work until the 7th of January, so I will continue to listen and follow Jesus on this new adventure He has started with me.  Jesus comforts our soul and eases our pain. I am grateful for the wonderful husband I have, our home, our community and our church.  Happy New Year!

Final Thoughts for the Holidays

Here are thoughts as we get closer to Christmas Day. Remember that not everyone is looking forward to Christmas since they may not have loving and supportive families. Some people have problems during the holidays. Great sadness plague those remembering the loved ones no longer with them. For many, it is their first Christmas without a particular loved one; many others lost loved ones at Christmas time. Many people have no one to spend these times and are lonely. We all need caring, loving thoughts right now. Pray for all those who have family issues, health problems, job struggles, or worries of any kind. They need to know someone cares. Pray for our military families, those who lay terminally ill in hospital beds, those who are in prison, as they are all someone’s son or daughter, spouse, parent or friend too.

I recall breathing a sigh of relief on December 26th. It was over, and I could get back to a “normal” life. When I was a young, single woman, my next concern was not having a date for New Years’ Eve.  I’m grateful those days have passed. Now I have more important matters that consume me such as filing taxes. I have stopped making New years resolutions as I am still trying to fulfill the ones I made back in 1995!  Instead, I  make short and long-term goals. For 2019, I want to become a disciple maker for the Lord Jesus Christ. I will volunteer where I am needed at my church and my community. I will continue to grow my blog followers and offer more personal support to the women in need.  Finally, I will give thanks every day to the Lord who created me to do His work and will do it with a loving heart.

Child Wonders, If Santa Isn’t Real, Is God?

I have had an issue with the Santa Clause myth ever since I found out there was no Santa (no tooth fairy, or Easter Bunny either). I will never forget that evening. I was eight years old. My sister was 18. She was thrilled to get a job working at Santa’s Village in downtown Eugene. Every Christmas, Eugene, Oregon decorated their streets with Candy Canes, and Santa Faces on the light posts. In the city park, they had Santa’s village with a train for children to ride around the park. There were three different size fountains in the center of the park, and Santa sat proudly in a white gazebo with his bag full of candy canes to hand out to all little girls and boys that sat on his lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas. My sister was one of Santa’s elves that helped the children up the stairs and placed them ever so carefully on Santa’s lap. One elf took a picture of Santa with the child, and several other elves helped the children on and off the Christmas train. They served hot chocolate and cookies at a little booth, and the smell and sounds of popcorn and Christmas music were prominent in the air for blocks. I looked forward to Santa’s Village every year.
Across the street from the park stood the Eugene Hotel. One of the most beautiful hotels in the city at that time. All of the crew that worked at the village had a couple of hotel rooms set aside so they could change into their costumes or warm up during a short break. My mom had dropped me off with my sister so I could see Santa and ride the train. When my sister’s shift was over, we had to cross the street so she could change out of her costume and back into her street clothes. She didn’t think when she unlocked the door. There, laying on the bed was Santa’s suit, white beard, boots, hat, and two pillows right next to his outfit. I still remember the hot tears rolling down my chilled cheeks. As my sister entered the room, she realized that I had discovered the truth. I didn’t know what to say, and neither did she. When we got home, I ran to my bedroom and cried into my pillow. It was all a lie. Santa wasn’t real. My mom quietly knocked as she entered my room to comfort me. She wasn’t ready to tell me the truth yet, So she made up another story. She explained that the real Santa was busy at the North Pole making toys and getting ready for Christmas. She reminded me that my sister wasn’t a real elf either, she was just there to be Santa’s helper. I sat quietly wondering if this was another lie. I decided I wasn’t going to be so gullible when it came to these types of kid stories anymore.

When it was bedtime, my mother came in and asked me if I recited my prayers. No, I had not. I figured if Santa wasn’t real, neither was God. I didn’t want to tell my mother my rational, so I lied and told her I had.
What brought this memory to mind was listening to a news report the other evening. It was reported that a second-grade teacher had asked the class what was Christmas about. The answer from the students was giving and receiving gifts, Santa Clause and Reindeer. One student responded by telling the teacher that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus and how Jesus came to earth to forgive our sins so we could go to heaven when we die. The teacher quickly replied to the student, “Well, kind of, sort of, but not really.”

Since I gave my life to Jesus fourteen years ago, I struggle with this Santa Myth every year. Many Christmas shows on mainstream TV are about Santa in some way, telling children, they better be good, or Santa won’t leave them any toys;  Just a nasty lump of coal instead (I know I was reminded of this particular myth starting about June).

While some worry about the words to the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer being bullied by the other Reindeer, I believe my concern is more relevant than the liberal wingnuts that pose these issues. How do Christian parents walk this razor’s edge? I would love to hear some feedback. How do parents explain Santa Clause and the birth of Jesus without the child wondering if God is real, or a myth like Santa?