I've decided to not visit the mall for shopping until after January 1st. Now those who know me best realize what a major accomplishment that will be. I mean, I love all things Ann Taylor Loft, and Aveda, and Macy's, and now that Great American Cookie Company has gluten-free cookies, oh, I am set.
Hmmm, we'll see if this lasts...as long as I don't get any coupons or special offers in the mail, I should be good. Better put mom on presorting my mail.
I digress. So, I've been thinking more about why this Scrooge wants to come out of me this Christmas season (really, pre-Christmas until after Thanksgiving). Of course, the obvious reason is that it is the first one without my Tony. But for me to blame my bitterness on him, now that would just be unfair - that is against his very being. Bitter would be the farthest trait I would use to describe him, ever.
My "bah humbug" sentiments seem to be directed more toward the very things our society has embraced as "Christmas" or "holiday." Christmas trees, and lights, and presents, and plastic Nativity scenes, and presents, and more presents, and Santa, and Rudolf, and more presents, and food, and busy calendars, and parties, and Christmas music (still haven't changed my thoughts on this one since my last blog).
None of those things are bad. I used to love all those things. They were a big part of celebrating this time of year, of remembering the birth of Jesus, of being with friends and family, of leading into a new year.
Then, my world, as I knew it, fell apart.
And "things" didn't much matter any more.
I am sure I am not alone in that.
I asked my mom the other day if we really had to put up a Christmas tree this year. I never imagined that question coming out of my mouth. Ever.
This is a Christmas that I never imagined.
My Christmas meets life unexpected.
What is so hard about this year is there are so many unknowns. How will I feel? How much will I miss Tony? How will I push through while society is Christmas crazy?
Funny how the association of those two words "life + unexpected" conjure up negative thoughts.
Yet, the very story, the very core of Christmas began out of life unexpected. Sure, the birth of Jesus had been anticipated for years, yet no one expected the Savior of the World to be born in a stable. Life unexpected. And certainly Mary never grew up expecting to be a virgin with child. Life unexpected. And the world never expected that a tiny baby lying in a manger could become the One Hope for salvation and eternity. Life unexpected.
Perhaps life unexpected is not so bad after all. Perhaps life unexpected is God's perfect plan.
So I will not look toward the traditional things for my Christmas this year. I will celebrate Christmas and Jesus in the unexpected. I will seek Hope for the holidays with people and places out of the ordinary. I will look for Hope in life unexpected.
It has already begun. After launching my hope blog last week, I received messages from folks I didn't even know read my blog who were also seeking that same Hope. People unexpected.
My prayer is that I will look toward places unexpected for Hope as well.
Perhaps those of you seeking Hope will do the same. May God meet you in the unexpected.
Dearly loved, and hoping for the unexpected,