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!
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!