A Very Different Christmas This Year

StockingsChristmas is a favourite family holiday and we celebrate by creating experiences together. Anticipation has always filled my December calendar, except those years when we had just relocated to a new country. Then, losses outweighed excitement. What I missed took the forefront in my soul. This year I have a very similar feeling, yet circumstances are very different. We’ve lived in the same house for years. Most everything, in fact, is the same. We’re close to family, have great friendships, amazing work and are involved in volunteer activities. The house is decorated and presents are bought.

What has changed? We made the decision to get some serious professional help for our son. A domino effect of chaotic change has resulted: He’s not with us for our holiday experiences and he won’t be home for Christmas. I miss his comings and goings. I walk into his room each day, wondering how he’s doing, longing to know what’s happening. [Read more…]

5 Ways To Nurture Your Spirit This Holiday Season

Out of nowhere, a sudden and deep longing… a kind of emptiness appeared.

December is a time of anticipation – lots of preparations for the holidays. Whether you believe in the Christ of Christmas or not, there’s cultural, religious and family traditions and celebrations to get ready for.

Kuwait ChristmasLast week I was getting that last present for my husband. With cheerful Christmas music playing on the radio, I was in high spirits, feeling great about the pace of my preparations so far: baking (accomplished with my adult daughters) was neatly stored in plastic containers, now daily disappearing from the freezer! That’s what happens when baked too early, with a teen and husband! Ok, I’m sneaking them too! Since our years in Cambodia, malls and shopping in Canada overwhelm me, so I purchase and wrap gifts early. Our tree is hung and decorations being enjoyed. We’ve given time to new immigrant families and packed Shoe Boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Yup, I felt prepared and ready! Then the Christmas carol “Joy to the World” started playing. I gustily sang along:

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Out of nowhere, a sudden and deep longing… a kind of emptiness appeared. A feeling that there is something more, coming from the depth of my heart. And suddenly it was made clear: preparing for the holidays is really preparing my heart! [Read more…]