For those of you who might be facing an imperfect, change-charged Christmas this year like our family and feeling a little anxious about the season of cheer; here’s a post to encourage you how God can turn things around and bring peace on earth… or more importantly, in your heart!
AN IMPERFECT CHRISTMAS
It was the second Christmas after the divorce but the first out of our family home.
The kids and I were living in a rented cottage at our church camp and due to struggles in their relationship, I knew the kids wouldn’t be seeing their father or family on his side again. Nothing was the same, but for the first time in a long time—I knew it would be peaceful.
I worried how I could make this Christmas special. There was no room for our 9-foot Christmas tree decked out in holiday splendor… it was packed away in the storage unit with all our other familiar things.
On top of this, I had started dating Todd and we knew we wanted to get married soon, so we felt it would it was time to begin celebrating the holidays together. I knew it would be hard for all the kids. Mine, who had everything turned upside down for years, living way out of their familiar surroundings and Todd’s kids who had to open up their family traditions to three more they probably weren’t sure they wanted there.
NOT FOR COWARDS
Celebrations started off with joining Todd’s family at their annual Sudds/Stahl Christmas party put on by his mom Bevie. I was worried how the family would treat us. Would they accept us and make us welcome or would we get the cold shoulder and end up sitting in a corner alone?
In true Bevie (Todd’s mom) fashion, there was lots of good food and games galore. The Sudds and Stahls all made us feel so welcomed and a part of the family. We felt like we came home. My kids and Todd’s kids laughed all night long. Back at Todd’s house we had our first Christmas as our amalgamation of a family. I’ll never forget how my stepson-to-be responded to his gift from us, reportedly his best Christmas gift ever; thanks to Shelby knowing him so well!
We left Todd’s and went back to the little cottage. My kids were in special form being silly and having fun, even acting out the Christmas story for me. We laughed as we wrapped more gifts. Then we went to my parents and slept over with my sister’s family. There were a few emotional times, but we worked our way through them.
What started with the potential for a disastrous, depressing Christmas
turned out to be one of the best ever!
Contrary to all my fears and concerns, that Christmas turned out to be amazing! If I would have given in to the anxiety, we would have missed out on a great new beginning.
There’s no manual on how to join two families. I’m sure we didn’t do everything the right way… because I don’t think there is a right way to blend a family but we did the best we knew how. I know it’s never God’s original intent but I’m thankful that God works all things for our good and allows second chances at love—real love… and gives us more family to embrace!
The kids are older now, some starting to make traditions of their own. But we still get together. Celebrating as this new family hybrid has become our norm and one of the most wonderful times of the year! Right now, the house is full of the kids, a boyfriend, a fiancé, a cat with one more “kid” coming tonight. We’ve having meals together, playing games and watching movies. It really is a wonderful time.
It’s taken us years and many bumps in the road to get here, but I feel we’ve transitioned from an awkward, not knowing how to mix group, into a loving, accepting, warm family unit. Not perfect, because let’s face it… whose family is perfect. Not perfect, but perfectly ours!
BRAVE AN IMPERFECT CHANGE-CHARGED CHRISTMAS
My advice for those wanting to experience peace and joy this Christmas while facing an imperfect, change-charged Christmas is to be brave! The reason why you can be brave is solidly based in the reason you celebrate Christmas. Bravery is possible this Christmas and always because God is with you.
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.“
Jesus is Immanuel… God with us.
There is nothing you face without His presence, power and love.
In practical ways: change or if needed, lower your expectations, try to follow as many traditions as you can but make some new ones… think positively, reject fear and doomsday thinking… lighten up, plan some fun… expect some issues, be ready to show grace… love lots… and enjoy every blessing on your way to the good times!
Verses to help fill up your well.
1. Isaiah 7:4
2. Matthew 1:22-23
3. Genesis 28:15
4. Exodus 33:14
JESUS—PRINCE OF PEACE VERSES
1. Isaiah 9:6
2. Isaiah 26:3
3. Ephesians 2:14
4. John 14:27