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Seeking Christ in Christmas

The windows are thrown open today to welcome in what we called "Indian Summer" back where I grew up in North Dakota.  The difference is that it is December 4th here and days this warm in North Dakota occurred in October!  

There could be no better relief for me right now than this chance to hear the bird song through the screen while I reflect a bit today.  Things of late have felt heavy.  Ever since I attended Christ Renews His Parish Retreat in October and received the call that my neighbor would no longer be treating her spreading cancer and had only weeks to live, I have felt completely weighed down.  Thanksgiving was special with my mother and father in law flying in for a week long visit.  Even my dear neighbor and her husband were able to stop by for a few hours of conversation.  All I could think is how good she looked, how no one would know that inside she had no immunity, no strength, no remission.  Days later she spent the week in the hospital and is now home with Hospice care.   Her grandchildren come to play and relatives are visiting from far and wide.  I feel helpless and sad and at a loss for how to help.

In the meantime, we have had two rounds of Strep throat and one more set of stitches at the ER for my youngest.  Somehow I wound up as the Lay Director for the next Christ Renews His Parish retreat in April and now have weekly meetings to attend which require hiring a babysitter.  There is basketball for both RW and ZJ and work Christmas parties and school pageants and cookie exchanges.  I have yet to enjoy playing Christmas music even though my home is decorated and aglow each night with twinkling white lights on all the banisters and even the deck.  Thank goodness my eldest son has taken over the  Elf on the Shelf duties or poor Elfred would certainly be stuck in one place for the entire month.  

It's as if the world is going on and my heart is just not fully engaged in it.    Have you ever felt this way around the holidays?  I know many people feel this way but for me it is a first.  Maybe Advent is exactly what I need right now.  I downloaded the Magnificat Advent app for $0.99.  I plan to use it to awaken and prepare my heart for the true meaning of Christmas.  Maybe that is exactly the lesson intended for me this holiday season.  To reach beyond the fluff and frivolity of the distractions and refocus on the true gift of Christmas, Christ himself. Perhaps He will walk with me throughout these heavy days and help me carry the load.  I would surely appreciate your prayers for my neighbor, Claudia, and her entire family.  Thank you.


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