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When Christmas Isn’t As It Should Be

When Christmas Isn't As It Should Be 2

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It seems almost sacrilegious to write about Christmas not being completely and totally merry.  Blogs are full of joyful posts about anticipating the holiday, making plans, secrets, and fun. Gorgeous photo spreads of merry activities adorn many blogs. Many people, women in particular, consider this to be the crowning moment of all moments throughout the year.

I do love this season.  From autumn to Thanksgiving to Christmas and on to our wedding anniversary at the end of January, I find it all special. It is, in many ways, my favorite time of the year.

A Christmastime of Sorrow

But for many people this season also brings loneliness, sorrow, and anxiety. To fail to recognize this is to miss out on the opportunity to minister to others who are hurting during this time.

While I love Christmas and all that it means, it is also a reminder that another year later there are still relationships and situations that remain unresolved.  People are missing from our celebrations. Celebrations with others will not be held. Bridges have not been mended and, in reality, may never be mended.  To pretend that the loss of these relationships and opportunities doesn’t exist isn’t possible.  The loss is there as is the pain. Yes, it diminishes over time but it never completely goes away.  It is easier to ignore the problems and strained relationships during the bright anticipation of spring and the bountiful days of summer.  But the arrival of the holidays is a reminder that another year has passed and things are not as they should be.

So while I am enjoying the preparations and look forward to the many good parts of Christmas, my heart also aches for the things that are not as they should be.

God Delights in Doing the Impossible

Our pastor spoke this week about the fact that we serve a God who delights in doing the impossible.  Many of us are facing impossible situations this holiday season.  Ruined relationships, financial trouble, vocational stress… There can be much that is not as it should be. But God is bigger than all those things.  We are facing our own impossible situation.  It seems truly impossible.  Being single and wanting to be married never felt impossible.  Even wanting a child never felt impossible.  This situation does.

But God delights in doing the impossible.  And so while it would be easy to wallow in the impossibility of it all, I choose not to do so. I choose not to let it override the joy of the Christmas season.

And even though there are relationships that are not as they should be, I choose not to focus on the loss and instead focus on all that I do have. I have a husband and a child with whom I will celebrate the holidays.  This was not always the case and I do not take it for granted. Yes, there will be other people missing from our holiday celebrations and things are not as they should be. But I choose to celebrate the joy and hope of Christmas in spite of the loss.

My hope for those who are also experiencing Christmases that are not as they should be… That you will also be able to choose joy.  That you will choose to go forward in expectation of a God who delights in the impossible and savor each good thing that He has given you to enjoy during this special season.

When Christmas Isn't As It Should Be


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  • Oh boy. I can relate to this too Sallie. We are estranged from a certain part of my husbands family and can do nothing to change the circumstances. Believe me, we have tried. For a year it has made me almost sick to my stomach and full of more anxiety. But in the end, I try to let it go and know that I’ve done everything I can this side of heaven to fix it. Some people just choose not to love you back 🙁 (which is sad, sad, sad esp. when it is family)

    Hang in there. You are right; this can be a hard season. I know full well. I spent 3 years in the mirky waters of depression and those holidays were awfully dim. This is the first Christmas in awhile I think that will be heartfelt for me, even with the estrangement

  • Janet – Thank you!

    Lindsey – I am glad you are doing so much better and are able to enjoy the holidays so much more this year in spite of everything else going on in the background. 🙂

  • We are also dealing with family hurts here. They’re recent and very hard for me to deal with. They feel more impossible than anything else that I’ve dealt with because I have no control over other people. Thanks for this post…


Sallie-Schaaf-Borrink-060313-B-250x250I'm Sallie, teacher by training and now homeschooling mom of Caroline. My passion is to provide products, encouragement, and information that helps others discover and do what works with their children. I also write about living a cozy life as a highly introverted person. Welcome! ♥

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