Write On!

Life to the Full

In Responses, Uncategorized on December 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm

by Tara Wiley

You came here, our little readership, you came to read about an ideal Christmas.

Only, maybe you’re like me. Maybe an ideal Christmas is a little too painful to read about this year. Maybe your Christmases have never been ideal. Maybe your expectations have never been met.

What is it that is missing? A family member, long gone. A broken relationship, never restored. A spouse overseas in a war zone. Enough health to be able to enjoy even the smallest portion of holiday cheer. Or other, more petty things, when you really think about them: not enough presents. Not enough money. Not the right home to decorate.

Or perhaps you find yourself where I am this morning: it’s the nagging reality pressing its way out of the deepest corner of your soul: this is not what Christmas is supposed to be.

This morning, I read two real-life stories of people who live Christmas every day. They live and love and give in a way so radically beyond me, I don’t know where to begin. One couple, after adopting 12 children and fostering 77 others, now elderly, give books away. Did I mention how they get the money to give away those books? They clean public restrooms. But really, I’m not doing the story justice. You need to read it for yourself, here: http://www.mikeysfunnies.com/archive/richFamily/index.html

The second story comes from today’s (12/07/11) blog entry here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/. The one that begins: It’s been over ten years of nothing under the Christmas tree here.

And I’ll be honest. That’s the one that describes my ideal Christmas. The one with pictures of children all lined up in a row, pouring over catalogs to decide what to buy: a well in Africa? Mosquito nets to protect people from malaria? Seeds for food? Now, lest you get the wrong idea, let me assure you their family DOES Christmas. The woman has an insane collection of decorations, all beautiful and meaningful and gorgeously photographed on her site. They do cookies and songs and trees and lights. But, they also do so.much.more by doing a whole lot less for themselves.

I pat myself on the back this Advent for all the efforts I’m making with my children to put Christ at the center of our Christmas: songs, devotionals, little acts of kindness, refusals to get too busy. Learning to savor the waiting.

At the same time, I have a closet literally stuffed with gifts that none of us need.

Lord, help me.

But, as much as I want a less commercialized, more giving-centered Christmas like Ann Voskamp’s or Eddie Ogan’s, my Christmas wish this year is very singular.

I have one friend that I want to encounter hope for Christmas, real lasting hope, the Jesus kind.

It’s one gift I cannot give. But I know the One who can.

So I pray for my friend to get the one Christmas gift that never wears out, that never fades, that only gets bigger and better because Jesus gets bigger and better the more you really know Him.

And I picture my ideal Christmas: the one where angels are rejoicing in heaven over one more soul sealed for all eternity in Jesus’ arms.

As a military family every Christmas is different, not born by design but logistics. I’ve long ago quit day dreaming about where and what we will do but the how… How will I spend whatever Christmas I have? I won’t be cleaning public restrooms and I’ve got a lot of gifts to wrap but I’m thankful that the biggest gift, no matter the tree or the circumstances is always there, Jesus.

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  1. This one hit way too close too home. Thanks for putting words to the stirrings of my heart. I struggle greatly with making this more of a reality in my life.

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