Friday, December 9, 2011

Grown-up Christmas

Christmas feels a little different this year.

Frank and I have talked about it a couple of times now. We seem to be missing the excitement. The anticipation. The thrill of all things Christmas. And we've heard the same thing from others.

Our entire married lives, Christmastime has been a very big deal!

We got married on December 30th. Meagan was born on December 20th. John proposed to Joy in December.

We've enjoyed and directed scores of Christmas pageants, parties, cantatas, programs............
We've traveled over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house. We've hosted extended family at our own home. We've given surprise gifts and received surprise gifts. We've experienced miracle provisions when the coffers were empty. We've provided Christmas for others when the opportunity was there.

But this year, it just feels different. (And it's not just because the weather is still a balmy 75 here in FL.)

Frank and I finally concluded that it feels different because this is an "all adult" Christmas. (Spencer will simply enjoy the boxes and wrapping paper this year. No real need for gifts in the boxes!)

And since our salaries don't really allow us to re-create the Lexus commercials (you know, the whole big red bow on top of the $75,000 car in the driveway complete with a dusting of snow commercial) we could feel a little less joyful.

When we were children, Christmas was truly magical! And when our girls were little, we had the thrill of watching their "dreams come true."

There were baby dolls dreamed of that brought tears of joy when opened. Bicycles (sometimes refurbished) that elicited squeals of delight. A pair of boots. A particular outfit. Always such gratitude and joy!

Several years we were serving as pioneer pastors and Christmas proved to be a true miracle provided for us by others who saw our need and cared. Those times were like a tightrope walk; fear and faith, fear and faith.

We had no ability to change reality. Because really? There was NO extra money - anywhere! We could only trust God that He would bless our children. And He always did!

Even the year that the car top carrier malfunctioned and flew open. The girls' carefully hidden gifts sprayed all over the interstate in a matter of seconds! What a Memory!!

So if the traditional thrills of giving, receiving, and even cold weather seem to be evading us what do we do?

Well, Frank and I have taken an honest look at what we've always thought brought the "joyful" to Christmas. And we've hit some interesting observations.

If we try to re-create the Christmases of our childhood, it doesn't fit. Kind of like squeezing into a playhouse that we outgrew long ago.

And if we try to re-create the Christmases of our girls' childhoods we'll make them miserable!

The remedy? Pretty simple, actually. And some may even say it's a bit cheesy.

But it's working for us.

We've chosen to focus on the original Joy. The CHRIST of Christmas.

And as we have, creative ideas are beginning to flow. Opportunities are presenting themselves. Momentum is building. And the shocker? As the focus moves from us and our "feelings," the Christmas Joy we longed to find is returning!

Such Irony!

May I encourage you to do the same if Christmas is feeling different for you this year? It may be due to reduced finances. Maybe you've lost a precious family member. Some are struggling with health issues.

You can't change the reality. But you CAN shift your focus!

Find something to be grateful for. Fill a need in the life of someone else. Write a letter of appreciation. Stop looking at commercials and sales papers! Look instead at the promises we have in God's Word.

And today I'm offering a money back guarantee. Try the Fabulous Focus Shift for three days and see if the joy isn't resurrected in your Christmas heart. If you aren't completely satisfied I'll return every penny plus cover shipping and handling!

Merry Grown-up Christmas, friends!


  1. This year, Sheri, with the kids living in your neck of the woods and not here in CT, I thought about what I would really like to do. SO, I didn't put up a traditional Christmas tree...nope, I brought the outside in and have floor to ceiling bare branches in beautiful floor vases. A few birds in the branches, a couple of glittered "JOY" ornaments and lights in the vases which I put sleeves of seasonal paper around and it's relaxing!

    I hosted a Christmas craft party for a few friends & relatives ranging in age from 10 to almost 70. What fun and everyone walked out with a couple of ornaments and an acid etched glass candle cylinder - and the 10 year old turned out to be smarter than his elders...when in doubt he asked for help! Two of the others flunked paper cutting! So funny and the little one so proud!

    I also hosted yesterday a Girlz Brunch for those who were in the Single Moms' Group I'd held in my home. Good food, laughter, friends in one accord. All walked out blessed and we're planning a craft party for before Valentine's Day. (Oh, my...I finally got sleep last night - 12 hours straight! Only to start planning again! I love it!)

    I'm used to Christmas Eve without my son, but I've no illusion that Christmas morning will be anything but very difficult so I really thought about what I wanted to do. Guess what? I want to get up and stay in my jammies all day, read books with Christmas music playing, watch Lifetime channel Christmas movies and cook a great dinner. Of course, I'll be waiting for one special phone call! A friend or two might stop by later to share whatever I cook up. They can bring their jammies, too!

    AND...I won't be alone for my Lord will be kickin' back with me.

    For the first time in many years, I don't have to be in charge & going 80's not so bad. Different, but not so bad.

    Just so you know, I gave my son, Andrew, your church's address and time for Christmas Eve service. I told him if they (he, Kara & little Andrew) go, to introduce themselves to you and give you a hug from me!

    I guess styles of celebration will change, but the center of Christmas will never change! Merry Christmas,my friend, and I wish you joy all year long!

    Under His Waterfall,
    Guerrina in CT