Good morning, friends!  Christmas is now upon on us, and I’ve been reflecting recently on the fact that I haven’t blogged since prior to Thanksgiving weekend.  So pull up a chair, and visit for awhile.

This early morning, I’m sitting in our Dining Room in front of our Christmas tree – with most of the lights in the room off, and Christmas music playing quietly on my husband’s iPod – and reflecting on the fact that I haven’t done nearly enough of this, this month.  This is the third of  four days that I get off of work, for the holiday.  For most of them, I’ve been watching with some heartache posts on Facebook – from cousins of mine across the country – referencing their activities, these last few days – and the plans that they have for celebrating the holiday with family members and close friends.  While more difficult emotionally for me, now – than it has been for the last seventeen years that we’ve lived here in MN – I find myself wondering why this is so?  Even here in the frozen midwest, God surrounds me with his love and his comfort!

Now that Christmas Day is finally here – and all the stress of picking out “good” pictures of the family, to send in to one or the other of the online photo-publishing companies to print Christmas cards for us from . . . . as well as making time to sit down and draft an annual letter, to be sent out to all of our relatives across the country, and close friends here . . . . and making time (amidst all of the Christmas parties) to get out and purchase that perfect gift – and then keeping it hidden, from a particular family member for weeks . . . . and then getting all of the gifts wrapped, and tagged – and many packed up, and shipped across the country to family . . . . is through – it’s a gift to finally have a quiet chance to sit down, and allow the impact of our candlelight service at church to work on my heart!

I’ve recently been struggling a bit with the realization that I’m getting to be middle-aged, and am no longer completely content with where I am in life.  I’ve always maintained that some perspective is a good thing – and as I’ve spent time recently reading through some of the letters that we’ve received from friends, this year – I’m confronted with the fact that I don’t have nearly the (physical) health, or the financial – issues, that many people are experiencing.  So contrary to what I sometimes believe, I really am very blessed!  In regards to no longer feeling content – feeling happy – with the circumstances of my life, I’ve begun praying more for God’s leading in my life.  I’ve realized recently that if I’m unhappy, I don’t have anyone to blame for it but myself!  I think that this has resulted – partially – from not keeping God first in my life, as I should have been.  I believe that if we remain in “right” relationship with God, he will bless us.

In the last month, I’ve been the recipient of more genuine love and encouragement, from close friends – than I could even begin to recount!  While my husband and I made a decision – some seventeen years ago, to leave our entire families and follow God’s leading in our lives – close friends in this area, and the advent of Facebook in the last several years – have gone a long way toward fulfilling many of our emotional needs.  More recently, I’ve come to realize that I am not the only one living far from family, either.  For me, cementing close friendships with other people who do not have extended family in this area has been invaluable, also.

I pray that as we celebrate the incredible gift that God gave all of us, by His coming – with family, today – that you’ll have an opportunity to recognize how blessed you are!  Enjoy participating in whatever Christmas traditions you have.  I’m grateful and I’m humbled that you had some time to visit with me, once again.  Joy indeed comes today, as the prophet foretold many years ago!!



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