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!
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.
I remember when my husband and I first moved to Idaho to follow the Lord, the second sermon our pastor gave was, Do You Know Your Purpose In Life? As I sat there listening, tears were burning in my eyes. I had no idea what my purpose was. As I was leaving the sanctuary, my eyes swollen from crying, I said to the pastor, “I don’t believe I have a purpose.” He embraced me gently and whispered in my ear, “We all have a purpose. You need to focus on God and ask Him.” For years I would ask myself, “What are my talents? What do I want to be? Where do I see myself five, ten, twenty years from now?” I wanted to be a singer, an actress, a teacher, a writer, a motivational speaker, a businesswoman. I took the direction of a teacher since that just felt natural. From the time I was a young girl, I would often come home from school, line up all my stuffed animals and dolls and play school, so it was no surprise to my family that I chose special education as a career right out of high school. But I felt there was more. After thirty years working with the special needs population, I wanted something more. Again I began to ask myself, “What do I want to do? What are my gifts? What is my purpose?” I soon learned that focusing on myself would never reveal my life’s purpose. “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind”~ Job 12:10. I remember reading Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life” years ago. I recall a passage that said, I was made by God for God. Only God knows what He designed me for. It was time to turn my attention to the Original Owners Manual, The Bible. I found Ephesians 1:11-12 that says, “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” (NIV). That verse made me realize that I WAS created for a reason. I wasn’t an accident. God did give me a special gift and I had been doing it from the time I was a child. I referenced the bible once again and discovered Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” I pondered the question, “How many students have I made a difference in their life/ future? I will never really know the answer, but that really isn’t the question I should be asking. How many students have made a difference in my life/future?” The answer of course is, all of them.
Years have gone by since the days of teaching in public schools with students having special needs. I have grown and matured in God, and now my focus is to help people understand God’s purpose in their lives. I still enjoy teaching and work in a private school. I have taught a children’s bible study group in our church and enjoy bringing Bible stories to life for the younger ones that are just beginning their journey. I give all the glory to God for shedding light on the true gift He’d blessed me with so many years ago. A gift I took for granted because it came so natural to me, that I never realized just how I had made a difference in the life of a child.