I have to admit my Christmas spirit has been seriously lagging this year. A combination of a sad event in our family, being sick for a week, having family and special friends either struggling with serious illnesses or trying to “just get through” the first Christmas without a loved one, and the terrible tragedy in Connecticut snowballed into days of numbness, grief and helplessness. Instead of a happiness-filled trip to on-line merchants, where I normally spend a couple of days picking out “just the right” gift for each family member, gift buying became a chore I couldn’t wrap my mind around. When Ted called me “Scrooge” for the third time, and wonderful friend Jill told me to “snap out of it!”, I knew I had to sit myself down and address the issues. But I couldn’t make myself do it.
The start back up into joyfulness began with a totally insignificant conversation with my son Blake. He called a few nights ago from a bookstore in Ft. Collins, asking if I had any books on my Christmas list. He was standing in the Christian book aisle and asked if I might need a new Bible. I smiled inwardly. Most people have one Bible. Blake has . . . well, he has quite a few. In fact, he gave me a new Bible for Christmas a few years ago. It sits under “my” Bible – the one I read cover to cover a few years ago. That one is marked on nearly every page, verses highlighted, notes written in white spaces, favorite verses jotted down on blank pages in the back. Probably every Bible Blake owns looks like that because he purchases study Bibles. With the middle space between two rows of verses filled with links to other verses a subject may relate to, he travels back and forth, learning something new. He never tires of it. It is truly his guide in life.
I read “my” Bible through when Blake first went to China and I was struggling with him being there – worrying constantly about his safety. That year brought me peace about his life’s journey and gave me a closeness to God like I have never had before. I truly became a Christian that year.
It came to me that in all my numbness, I had not had one serious conversation with the Lord about my worries. Oh, I had bowed my head and prayed a quick, “Help me, Lord” – mumbled a couple of dozen times a day, leaving not one window or door open for His answer. Why is it we always think we can handle everything by ourselves? Why do we think we’re that strong? When will we learn that we’re not strong at all without God’s help? How hurt do we have to be before we acknowledge, “With Him, all things are possible” and “Without Him, we are nothing.”
We are human. We think we can handle anything all by ourselves. We can’t.
My answer to Blake that night was, “No, don’t get me another Bible. How about a book of devotionals for women?”
“Ok,” he said. “I’ll look for one.”
But what I was thinking, as I clicked off the phone, was, “Get back to God’s word, Brenda. Take that brand spanking new Bible Blake gave you years ago and read it through – starting January 1. Mark it up, search for meaning and peace and hopefulness and love . . . . find your joy again.”
Blake flies in tonight and Jason arrives tomorrow. With them will come laughter and fun and hearty appetites wanting all their favorite “mom” dinners. I can’t wait to see them walk in the door. I can’t wait to feel those first bear hugs they reserve just for me.
My smile is big today. Scrooge has gone on vacation.