"...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.
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.