We are coming to the close of another year. In a couple of weeks 2016 will be in the history books. Christmas is just around the corner and I hope you will be gathering with friends and family somewhere this season. If you know my story, you know my mother died of alcoholism when I was only 12 years old.
Prior to that time, even though she was a crazy alcoholic, Christmas was still a big deal in our house. The decorations, the cookies, the presents. My favorite parts were going caroling with my girl scout troop, the tins of cookies stacked up in the dining room and the little city under the tree. The city had an electronic train, lit up buildings and some old things from my grandparents’ house.
I loved going to bed at night with the lit-up bells shinning in my window and looking at the little manger scene set up in the living room and the fire roaring in the fireplace in the den. I was oblivious for the most part to how serious the problems for my mother were.
After she died my father took me to my sister’s house one year where we had Christmas there. They were supposed to move to Texas after my mother died. I think that was my father’s way to attempt to give me a family environment. It didn’t work out, somehow my sister’s husband could not get a transfer with the company he worked for and the whole thing fell through.
After, that we lost touch with my family. I didn’t find them again until 20 years later. I would get shipped off to some friends house every year for Christmas while my father stayed home and drank himself into a stupor. At my house, there was no sign it was Christmas. After my mother died, my father sold the house and everything in it, including all the Christmas decorations. Year after year it was like this until my father died when I was 22.
As an adult I sort of forged my own traditions. One of them being making my Christmas dinner something other than the “traditional” turkey. Instead, my Christmas dinner is fajita’s and all the fixins which includes my “famous” salsa.
This last year has been tough on a personal level. Some family things happened that were a challenge and I made some decisions to take some risks that I’m still walking by faith to see them come to fruition.
Yet I cannot complain. While my life is missing some things that seem certain to always be missing, I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I have a car to take me places and money to put gas in the car. I have people in my life that care about me and won’t let me stick my head in the sand too long or go into isolation mode. Many of my close friends are in other parts of the world this Christmas and my daughter is on her adventure in Thailand.
I have been moved recently to downsize and donate things that I have not used in a long time. Already I have given away a few bags of clothing and reduced the number of books and other things I have taking up space. My inkling is to bless someone else with those things that I am not using. As a result, my house is less cluttered and someone else gets something that they might not have been able to get for themselves.
No matter where you are or what circumstances are in your life, know that there is always hope. For me the hope comes from God and Christmas is a great reminder of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. With 2016 coming to a close, take some time to have goodwill toward your fellow human. There are many struggling, you may be one of them. It’s easy to say “oh just change your thoughts.” That’s a lot harder than it seems based on my own experience. Reach out to someone and connect. They may be more of a blessing than you know.