Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Christmas Thief!


TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY
my dad died.
Since he was in his nineties,
his death was not unexpected.

His death set in motion a chain of events
that shook our family to the core that Christmas,
and tested the realness of our faith in God.

The cataclysmic occurrence was an automobile accident
that took place on the way to the funeral home two days later,
taking the lives of three of my siblings,
and permanently affecting the health of a sister-in-law and a nephew.

For those of you that have heard our story or read it in
I won't re-tell the account.
(You can download it FREE to your Kindle or purchase a hard copy by clicking on the link above.)
Instead, I would like to share with you
where I am emotionally and spiritually now that it is
TWO DECADES LATER!

Honesty and being real have always been important to me,
so I'm not going to lie and say it has been easy!
For some strange reason, 
this Christmas, TWENTY YEARS LATER, has been the toughest one yet!
I feel like I've been fighting depression
 and been dwelling again too much on that horrific night.
I tried to analyze why this was so,
and came up with these conclusions.

One was the death of my brother-in-law about a month ago.
Like the timing of my father's death,  he also was in his nineties.
We knew that we couldn't have him here forever,
yet his death affected me greatly,
and I hurt deeply for his immediate family.

Two more funerals followed closely on the heels of my brother-in-law,
and I began learning something new about myself.
I knew that God had gifted me with the attribute of mercy,
but instead of just using it to bring comfort to others as described in 2 Corinthians 1:4,
I was allowing it to grow into an unhealthy empathy.
I began realizing that in this unhealthy emotional state,
such overwhelming grief seized me to the point that I often felt losses more deeply
than the persons who were directly affected!
NOT GOOD!
I had become my own worst ENEMY!

Okay,
that was confession number ONE about how I began losing my JOY this Christmas!

Now on to the SECOND confession!
I let anger creep in over the commercialization of Christmas!
What really got me upset
 was when I couldn't find an outdoor Nativity set for sale in our town.
Although I was able to purchase one on-line,
I continued to seethe inwardly that our country,
and our town in particular, had gotten to this place.
In protest, I refused to put up my usual Christmas lights and decorations,
and I placed a Nativity set in the corner where I usually put up my tree.

Then today it hit me.
I was allowing my over-zealous grief for others,
and my anger for our loss of Christ-consciousness at Christmas,
to steal the JOY, beauty and wonder of Christmas!
The thief that allowed this to happen was ME!

In nursing we learned that defining the problem was half of solving the problem.
I'm still working on the solution...
Today I did go buy a small Christmas tree to put beside the Nativity Scene.
Tomorrow I plan on going Christmas shopping with my recently widowed sister.
I plan on enjoying the day with her as I remind myself that part of the key to JOY
this Christmas Season is to be thankful for what we have left
instead of fretting and mourning over what we have lost.
As Joyce Meyers says, "The Battle is in our Minds"!

I choose to bring my thoughts into line 
with what the prophet Jeremiah says in the Scriptures:
"I still dare to hope..."

Yes,
God is faithful.
His mercies are new every morning!
And this is going to be a good Christmas!


Thanks for your visit!
To see my Christmas Rock and the Nativity Set mentioned above,
click HERE!


















20 comments:

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I am so sorry to hear of all those losses and so close together.I do know,though,that God had you write these words for me to read. It has been three years since my Hubby passed away and I have been feeling a gnawing grief inside of me as Christmas approaches.The words 'to be thankful for what we have left' really spoke to me. I do have so many loved ones,many who will come to share Christmas with me.God is good.

pattisjarrett said...

So many losses so close together, that seems almost unbearable--especially when they come so unexpectedly. I'm glad you are finding your joy once again. Just the other day I was thinking of how many friends and relatives we've lost this year. I suppose that comes with getting older, but I wasn't quite ready to learn that lesson. Blessings of comfort and joy to you and your sister.

edenhills said...

Holidays and anniversaries of loss always bring emotions to the surface, and having so many losses so close to this holy day has to be overwhelming. I also understand the dangers of being too empathetic. It's important to sort out our emotions from those of people around us. I do hope you have time to reflect on the joyous nature of this season. Blessings to you and your family.

HansHB said...

A Merry Christmas to you!

Carol L McKenna said...

Life has thrown 'curve balls' to all of us ~ not to minimize your losses ~ Xmas has lost its meaning in this country along with so many other values ~ Yet, all I can control is my attitude ~ it is not easy ~ yet it is what it is ~ I send you much love and healing hugs as you walk your path of life ~ May you find Joy each day ~ carol, xxx

Thanks for visiting and Merry Christmas to you and your family ~ Be well, be happy .

Gattina said...

Since I saw the funerals of Mandela I thought other countries have another view on funerals and death. The people were dancing and looked rather happy. I think we should take that for an example. I didn't want to look down on my funerals and see everybody crying !

Granny-Guru said...

I am so sorry to hear of all your losses. Of course, your brother-in-law's recent loss brings back in spades all the grief from your father's and siblings losses, even if 20 years ago. I love that you are creating new traditions to replace the joy you once felt, while comforting others who so need you. May the blessings and joy of Christmas continue to enfold you.

Sue said...

This was a wonderful, uplifting post about how to move through losses with grace and hope. I'm sorry for the trials your family has experienced. It's hard to imagine losing more family members after a funeral, but I don't have to tell you that life doesn't follow the rules.

I think you are taking great steps to refocus yourself on what you have left instead of what you have lost, as you say. Well done.

=)

Sue said...

And merry Christmas to you!

=)

Sue said...

And merry Christmas to you!

=)

Tracy Cook said...

God has been waiting for you to take the Joy he has been holding out for you. God Bless

storybeader said...

sorry to hear this sorrow has been festering for a long time. Everyone has different ways and time frames when dealing with grief. Rejoice in yourself and the people around you. Hope you enjoy your holidays to a greater extent. {:-Deb

EG CameraGirl said...

I'm glad that you have thought long and hard about what wa making you feel so sad. Yes, we do need be thankful for what we have and also bringing joy to your grieving sister by shopping with her will likely sprout joy in your own heart as well.

Karen S. said...

A most Merry and Bright Christmas to you!

Lmkazmierczak said...

Esther, Thank you for sharing your challenges and goals...may the Holy Spirit be a guide and comfort to you and yours.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Esther, I am sure it helps to share your story with others. So many have gone thru losing a family member. It seems harder around the holidays, I learned to remember the happy times I have had with my family members that have passed on, I still miss them. Wishing you all the best, stay strong.

Wishing a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

fredamans said...

(((hugs)))

Jedidja said...

Only a hug. And thank, thank you very much for this blog. It opens my eyes for myself.

Joy said...

Sorry to hear your lost, but I thank God that you are ok now. Everything happens for a reason.
It is Jesus birthday we are celebrating Christmas, so we have to he joyful because he came.
Merry Christmas and happy new year.
God is with us all year round:)
Sharing how God works in my life too in my other blog: willyouhearfromme.blogspot.com
Wishing you a nice day:)

Jenny said...

There is so much I could write here.

But nothing comes close to what is in my heart.

I'm sorry seems so ineffectual.

Sending prayers seems so small in the remembrance of such sadness.

I'm going to do both, though, and tell you I admire you so much. You are a beacon of faith.

Bless you.

Hugs, prayers and thoughts!