Don’t Expect the Christmas Season to be Free of Hardships

Don’t expect the Christmas season to be free of hardships.

A dear friend of mine died  around Christmas time. I won’t make this tip about it. The grief is fresh and private and yet I rejoice that she no longer suffers.

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None of us knows the day or the hour when hardships or struggles will strike.

Life happens during the christMas season

At this time last year, I was running around with a heart monitor strapped to my chest and wires trailing out of my yoga pants, thanks to some heart issues. My eldest son, Damian,  fell and broke his elbow at work so we traipsed from doctor to specialist trying to get a good picture of what was going on inside his arm. I got home and jumped into son Hunter’s car to be whisked to the cardiologists and rip off the monitor before they locked the doors. (Wonder what the reading looked like that last hour.) Not what I planned to be doing during the countdown to Christmas.

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The truth is- life happens during the Christmas season. We cannot put sickness on hold or plan not to have any tragedies. Struggles are not scheduled on your calendar app.

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Our children from hard places know the drill. These children have already suffered hardships. They can get stuck in the expectation of devastation. It is our job to allow them to grieve, but not stay stuck in the pit. Tough job. Not impossible. When we have this mindset that Christ gave us – all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) we can put struggles into perspective. Remember, this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Give thanks. Not for the circumstance, but in the midst of it.

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Biblical Application:

2 In those days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole[a]Roman empire should be registered.

2 This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3 And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

5 To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused (married) wife, who was about to become a mother.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,

7 And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.

-Luke 2

The circumstances of the birth of our savior were probably not the Christmas that Mary and Joseph had envisioned. Fleeing to Egypt shortly after was probably not on their agenda either. Yet, they rejoiced. They celebrated. Mary pondered all of these things. There were gifts and songs sung by angels. There was great joy!

“Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other.”- Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift

We parents must learn to rejoice and struggle at the same time for our children’s sake. We must teach them to cope and rejoice in the midst of circumstances. We can rejoice in one thing and grieve another at the same time. Nobody is asking us to ignore grief or pain. We don’t ask our children to either. We can rejoice in Christmas in the midst of pain. Hardships happen even at Christmas.

*This is an excerpt from 25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas An Advent Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Parents.

Five Minute Friday:: Gift

Hi, thanks for joining me, the Series “Five Things Your Adopted Children Would Like to Tell You” will be back on Monday. If you missed the introduction, you can find it here. Last month, our focus was PLAY and ways to play or use home therapy for free. We’ll have more posts on that in the future, but the theme for the month of June is “Adoption.” Just hitting the pause button here for  Five Minute Friday15881341055_31e56506c3_oMY mother- in -law ins having a lengthy surgery today, correcting a  complication from a previous surgery. My sister is struggling. I am feeling a bit out of sorts and when I feel like this, I just want to give up. this weeks prompt made me stop and think. I have been recording gifts, my thankful list, a habit I started the first time I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and read it again. And I keep listing gifts. As I pray for those I love, I think on those gifts.

  • Watching my son battle it out with  Nerf swords in the front yard with a friend and a brother
  • Sitting by the campfire alone, all leaned back watching the trees sway in the breeze
  • Talking on the back deck with a family fostering to adopt and laughing ( even though the wait is long and they are jumping through fiery hoops)
  • talking to my brother states away and knowing he is concerned and wants to help

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Knowing ultimately that God has my best interest at heart and he is in control. he is waiting for me to open the gifts he has already given. He is longing for me to come into His presence.

18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship] Isaiah 30: 16

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