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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

Christmas Restoration

Thursday, December 25, 2014
"...he restores my soul." ~ Psalm 23:3

Something has changed in me this Christmas. Believe it or not it's been 12 years since I decorated my house for Christmas. Well, actually 11 years, because I spent Christmas in Brazil 12 years ago. And Brazil changed me. It refocused me. Through the wonderful people I met there I discovered what was important and what wasn't. When I asked them if they put up Christmas trees they looked at me funny and said, "Why would we do that?  That is how the world celebrates Christmas!" And it changed me. So for the last 11 Christmases I have been celebrating Christ's birth very differently. But something changed this year. I had one of the worst personal years of my life that included me on the brink of burnout culminating with the passing of my dad.

For the last 8 months I have been on a journey of grief and healing that has included counselling and a 16 week "self-care" course. And the healing has been slow, but steady. Effortless, even. While I have embraced my fatigue and grief, allowing myself to mourn, I have become aware of who I am and what matters most in my life. Similar to my experience in Brazil, I have once again been confronted by what is important and what is not.

And this has changed everything.
At the end of November I went to visit my sister and her family for American Thanksgiving. I felt strongly that I should go as a step in my grief journey - it would be the first time I would be with my sister since my dad passed away. While I was there we began to talk about Christmas and traditions. It sparked something in me as I had recently attended a seminar on grief that encouraged us to take advantage of ceremony and traditions as a way of remembering our loved ones.

So my sister took me down to her Christmas stash in the basement. And she had lots! She sorted through ornaments and figurines and wreaths she had made by hand. And then she began to ask if I wanted this or that. And I did, interestingly enough. I wanted to have Christmas decorations again as a way to remember all of the special holidays I spent with my parents.
This morning as I opened up a few gifts that were given to me, alone in my house, I felt like my soul was being restored. God's presence and love was so obvious and "present" that I had to stop and give thanks. I can't explain exactly how I got here today, but I am thankful that God has never left me along the way - and he never will.