So, I haven't posted a whole lot this month. Or this year, really. No particular reason or plan to that, it's just how it's happened. Part of that is because I have been busy immersing myself in the fascinating world of human movement. Part of that is because I just don't know what to say. And part of it is because my computer and internet make me crazy sometimes and won't load things when I do want to post, so then I give up. there may be other reasons, but why waste time with analysis? It is what it is.
But here I am, posting. Partly because I have a boat load of food to cook for the next few days and this sounded easier (and I just told my mom that I don't procrastinate as much as I used to... maybe I should call her back!) But more because there was something that I was thinking about in terms of Advent and Christmas this year.
I have shared before that the holidays for me are... interesting to say the least. I have always loved this time of year, so there is part of me that still gets a little giddy about lights and tinsel and sparkles and cinnamon scents. Yet, my very love for this time of year also makes it one of the toughest times of the year. There is nothing like the holidays to highlight the wonderful joyous things that are in your life, but there is also nothing like it to make you feel all the hurts that much more deeply. I never know from day to day how it's going to go.
All year, and especially from Thanksgiving on, I have just been feeling a certain emotional fatigue. I'm just so tired of being alone. I have wonderful family and friends, so I'm not totally alone, but probably more than some people think I am. When I am with people, I am not merely acting like I am enjoying myself, I usually am having a good time, but when I am alone, I am so over this.
I didn't start to write this post to whine. I am here to tell you what I have learned this particular Advent season. I was talking to a friend who is in a similar situation in a way. We discussed how the holidays can be extra hard, but I told her that as tired as I was and as much as I sometimes don't feel like I have any fight left, I was still determined that nothing and no one were going to take away the holiday celebration from me completely.
By the grace of God, there is something extra special about this holiday season for me, something a little unexpected. No, it is not any change in my circumstances (darn it!), but rather a still, small voice. Two bloggers (sadly, I don't remember the exact posts to link you to) towards the beginning of Advent said some things that have been sitting with me. One was struggling, but mentioned that putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations helped because every time she looked at it, it was a reminder that Christ is with us. The other mentioned bringing everything we had to the manger to the feet of Jesus (in particular through the St. Andrew's novena). Those messages caught my eye a little bit, since I remembered them, but the messages have worked their way slowly to my heart.
Christmas is the fact that Jesus came to this earth in human flesh. He is "Emmanuel", translated as "God with us". That in the recent days has become my celebration of the holidays. My celebration doesn't have to be that everything is perfect with lots of traditions and everything that I love about that. My Christmas doesn't have to be about all things joyful and happy, it can also be about the parts that are less wonderful, and the parts that we don't want to talk about. Because the important part is that 1) God is with us, and 2) we can choose to bring all of what we have and offer it back to Him.
I just want to say an extra special thanks to my prayer buddy this Advent. I feel like God's grace is working into some of the places of my heart that have been a little hardened by this fatigue, and I am grateful for that. I feel a little more willing to let go of what I want for my life, and trust whatever it is that He's doing (even though I'm still freaking tired of it! ;) ). On the other hand, I also feel a little more able to specifically pray for my vocation in life, even while letting go. Anyway, thanks for being a part of that.
Whoever is here and happens to read this (since I know that most of you are WAY busier than I am these next couple of days!), know that for those of you that are rejoicing God's abundant blessings this Christmas, I am rejoicing with you. I am truly happy for you. For those of you that are in pain this Christmas, I am praying for you. I know that pain this time of year is not quite like anything else, though I may not quite know your particular pain, I am hurting that you have to carry this. Many of us are in some kind of in between, and that is okay, too. Not every moment of your holidays has to be jolly and bright for you to succeed as a human being (or am I the only one that feels that kind of pressure?) I hope for all of us, wherever we fall on the spectrum are able to either rejoice or take comfort in the fact that because of this day, God is with us.