I had a handful of favorite reads to share with you this weekend, but somehow this is what you’re reading instead.
I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who starts things and never finishes, but I’m not sure how many of those “frugal Christmas” posts I had planned are actually going to happen.
You see, I can’t stand the thought of this blog becoming so mechanical and business-like that it just keeps operating apart from real life, so I’m going to be really transparent today…
December has been difficult.
Disease and old age took the lives of two members of our church family last week, and on Wednesday my husband preached the funeral of a twenty-something year old man.
It isn’t easy for a shepherd to walk through grief with his flock.
I’ve blogged just a little about my Titus 2 mentors, and how God brought two very special ladies into my life at a time of great need.
This week, He took one of those precious ladies home to Heaven. Her cancer diagnosis came just 3 1/2 weeks ago. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye.
My kids and I cried as we decorated our home for the holidays this week. My ten year old daughter said she never wanted to celebrate again (this is one of the first losses of a loved one for my children, and they are processing it with a lot of tears and questions).
I gently reminded my young ones that grieving doesn’t mean we can’t continue to enjoy life and relish the moments God has given us. We honor the memory and legacy of our godly loved ones when we keep serving, keep rejoicing, keep living with eternity in view.
But the tears still come and the heart still aches. And eternity feels strangely nearer and farther away than ever before.
Grief has a way of making the mundane motions of life seem mechanical.
We must go on, but we know life will never be quite the same again.
I have a feeling I’ll always feel just a little bit lost without my precious friend and mentor, Carol Martin, on this earth.
I miss her. I feel like I still need her friendship and example. I wasn’t done learning from her.
I know the world needs a new generation of godly mentors to rise up, but I’m not ready. I’m not there yet. I’m still growing.
And, today, I’m not feeling a lot of the mirth and light-heartedness of this season. Maybe it’s silly, but I sort of feel guilty for feeling so heavy-hearted at Christmas time. And then I wonder,
What have we done to Christmas that makes us expect it to be all tinsel and fluff?
I find myself wondering how Jesus felt (on the eve of that first Christmas) when he gave up His beautiful, heavenly Paradise to partake of our broken, painful humanity. Wondering if He ever, for a moment, asked Himself if it was worth it.
To do all that, give up all that, endure all that.
He would have never known pain, never felt grief, never suffered rejection and separation, if He would have chosen another way.
But there was no other way.
So He took the pain, the grief, the rejection.
And in those times we find Him to be so much sweeter than a little Baby in a manger. Dearer than a mere Man Child. More precious than a Sunday School story or a feel-good Christmas carol.
Our bleeding, risen, living Jesus is the Christmas story, and that story is very much about a suffering Savior meeting us in our place of grief-stricken humanity. And making it into something beautiful.
Not easy. Not pretty. Not desirable.
But eternally beautiful.
This post is far from my 12 Day of Frugal a Christmas series, but this is my today, this is my heart. Maybe I’ll get back on track next week, but for now…
I am pushing away from the distractions of blogging for a few days to say goodbye to a precious lady, and to huddle close with my family and friends as we celebrate Sis. Carol’s life.
Thank you so much for your understanding and prayers.
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.