Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Didn't Miss It!

This was the first holiday season in 4 years that I actually enjoyed. I’ll consider that my very own Christmas miracle. It's the best present anyone could have wrapped up and placed under my tree.

I re-read a few of my posts from holidays past. Sheesh, I think I could have been cast to play Scrooge. But I must give grace where grace is due. I have come from the depths of sadness; I'm just so grateful I've found joy on the other that has nothing to do with my circumstances.

It's joy that has everything to do with the great work of my Healer God.

I loved what my pastor Billy (also known as the world’s greatest boss!) prayed during our Christmas services at Buckhead Church. He asked the Lord to help us to not miss Christmas. 

He was encouraging us to not miss Christ in the midst of the busy season. I took it in a broader sense.

The Christmas season of 2013 was one I showed up for; I did not miss it. At the beginning of November, standing in front of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC with my sweet friend Sue, I made a conscious decision that I would be fully engaged in the holiday season...and that I would choose to enjoy it.

Here's a few things that I chose to do...

I slowed down; I had nothing particular on my agenda. I watched a lot of movies. For better or for worse, I discovered the Hallmark channel. It seems that a good half of those movies feature stories about widows and widowers. Perhaps I should submit my own script…as long as I get to pick the actor I end up with!

I took in moments, incredibly beautiful and powerful moments. My favorite was serving at a Night of Worship with 300 homeless men at Atlanta Mission. They sang "How He Loves" and it was all I could do to not burst into tears; Tony would have loved it.

I treasured sweet moments with my family, enjoying the presence of their company while choosing to be fully present. I found myself not dwelling on the shattered dreams of "what could have been," but instead being grateful for the incredible gifts I've been given. 

I read Christmas hymns. That’s correct, I read them. A good friend encouraged me to do so, after listening to my pre-Thanksgiving rant about not liking the music of this festive season. I learned there’s a reason these songs are repeated over and over again. Their words are powerful, timeless. I even sang a few too. The one that choked me up the most was the words to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I had never noticed these verses before...verses that describe my healing so well:

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

I celebrated the gift that I do life with some really amazing folks. I chose to look at my community of friends and colleagues through the lens of gratitude.

I laughed…a lot. I didn’t take myself (or this season) too seriously. I gave silly gifts. I sent silly Christmas cards. I dressed up all silly...yes, even in a blue Power Ranger suit...on stage at front of thousands of people. I loved every moment.

I didn’t miss Christmas. I didn’t miss it this year. I engaged with my still-fragile but healing heart. I engaged with joy. And it ended with my very own snowfall in Denver as I wrapped up the season with my beautiful (and newly engaged...yay!) friend Tammy.

I’m so glad I didn't miss these moments, these friends, these gifts. I give all the credit to the One who gave his only son that first Christmas.

I look forward to 2014 with joy.

Dearly loved,