It's the most wonderful time of the year. Actually, it depends on who you are.
First, we have the child, and heck yeah, if you're a kiddo, it's amazing! Toys under the tree, parties at school, and a long break from school. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!
Then there is the small business owner. Whose shop is filled (even on Mondays) with consumers buying gifts and relieving the worries about paying the rent for at least a few months, it's a magnificent relief to end a stress-filled year with booming sales.
I think about the lonely senior citizen facing another Christmas without his wife. He misses her dearly, so when he takes the beloved red velvet suit out of the dry cleaning bag where it has hung for the last 11 months, he feels joy awakening his sad heart. He is the most sought-after guy for the next four weeks! He has children that will wait in line to sit on his knee and share their Christmas dreams with him; he is wanted, needed, and important, and it is truly the most wonderful time of the year for him.
I share these examples with you to point out how many different perspectives there are about Christmas being the most wonderful time of the year. These are just a few, and I know there are many more, but there is one more I want to highlight.
The struggling alcoholic. The newly sober. The drinker who is putting every bit of their energy into controlling their drinking.
I remember it well, the struggle.
The week of Thanksgiving, I would make a long list of all the things I would not do to ruin the holidays for myself or my family. This list was long as I put restrictions in place around my drinking. By Black Friday, I faced another dilemma: I had to devise a new plan because I had already broken the rules I had set for myself. And that was the season for me and countless others. Too much to drink, very little memory of the rubble my drinking created around the tree, and a disgusted husband and kids who won't look me in the eye the next day.
Then there is the newly sober; That first holiday season, my mind screamed, WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE! HOW DO OTHER PEOPLE DO THIS? The pressures to do it all make me want to run to distraction from the demands of the season, and the only way I know how to do this is to drink. But I am committed. Sobriety is not a goal; it is a way of life, and I had better figure it out. Eventually, I did.
I have been sober for a while now, but the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas still brings me anxiety each year. Maybe it's normal anxiety, I have no idea, but I want to share with you one thing I have learned to do that helps;
If it's stressing me out, I cross it off the list, not because I've finished anything but because it just doesn't matter. Maybe next year, I say to myself🤷🏼♀️. Instead, I might find myself doing a few things I love to do.
Bake all day and then sample it before giving it away.
Make a Christmas craft with my grandsons. (sorry, I should've taken pictures)
Eat peppermint bark and drink coffee by the tree with a good book.
Drinking is not on my mind, and the thought of wasting this precious time of Savior celebration inebriated has no appeal to me whatsoever.
Christmas is wonderful to me today. Is it perfect? Absolutely not! There will still be the parties I wish I didn't have to go to where the alcohol flows endlessly until people are idiots. I usually exit long before that point. Not because it is tempting me to drink but because I have better things to do. There will still be the occasional family feud and also my private tears, missing the ones I love that can't be with us.
It's still wonderful, though.
We have a sure thing that has absolutely nothing to do with any of the above-mentioned activities.
The Birth of Jesus Christ
In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region, there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Luke 2: 1-20 ESV
I hope you took the time to read the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It's a good read, and who doesn't love a beautiful true story like this one?
Wishing you a Wonderful weekend,