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Seasonal beauty--that’s the topic of the month for Healing Home; the month of December when the spirit of joy, awe, and generosity seem to abound. The atmosphere changes; decorations, and lights dazzle, and twinkle--the air feels different. For most people, it truly is the “most wonderful time of the year.” But, there is also the other side of the season. No matter how long I thought about the things I could write, Father continued to prod me with a very tough subject...suicide.
Several years ago I managed a store in a shopping mall. Observing the excited shoppers, I noticed many mothers and daughters together; smiling, laughing--bonding. Of course, not everyone was having such a good time but I noticed the joyful ladies the most. Why? Because that’s what my heart longed for. I wanted to enjoy the colors, smells, and atmosphere while shopping with my mom, but the Lord called her home early. I had an empty place where my silent tears poured out. I still had family to share with but loneliness crept through my heart--I missed my mom.
Which side comes closest to describing you? Are you the type to start decorating and playing Christmas music the first week in November while seasonal joy takes the reins to finish out the year? Or, are you more like the group that just wishes it was all over and everyone would stop acting so happy and go home? I am usually in the first group but I have also experienced the sad side.
The number of people who deal with depression on a daily basis is out of control. Two of the biggest issues with depression are that many people are very good at hiding it and most warning signs go unnoticed, especially during the rush of this season. There is so much to accomplish in such a short time--it has to be just right. We become very self-focused as we wave and say hello to people we meet. We tend to not look any deeper than the skin, a smile means everything is fine, right? Not necessarily. Most people can put on a brave front for a little while, they don’t want you to ask questions or be concerned for them so they fake it until they are alone. Those people are in the most danger. They need hope.
What does a typical holiday celebration look like to you? For me, it has changed over the years as family members have been taken and others added. My greatest memories of Christmas wrap around a big, decked-out tree with tinsel, lights, and ornaments, surrounded by a large family of cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents and the guest of honor, Santa Claus, who had a gift for everyone! It was an exciting time. Now, I am one of the grandparents. Christmas Day is normally at my house with my kids, grandkids, and mother-in-law gathered together. The size of the group has diminished. Our families are smaller. Santa does not join us but it is evident he showed up during the night. The time of our gift opening is dependant on what time child custody changes that day, we wait for everyone. Although the picture is not what I grew up with it is what my grandkids are growing up with and it is a day filled with comfort, joy, and love.
Have you ever considered purposely including an outsider in your family celebration, besides Santa? Would that be too weird for your family? Would it diminish the intimacy of the gathering? It may actually be the most rewarding part of the event. If you have time and space in your busy schedule for one more good deed, I have a heart-challenge for you. Let God bring someone to your mind who needs to know they are loved. Invite them to join your family for the celebration. If there will be a gift exchange find a way to have a package for that person as well. I’m certain you will be a witness to love in action and you may even be saving a life. Take in the beauty, the joy, the sounds, and smells of the season. Use your quiet time with God as a dumping ground for your stress.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
May this holiday season bring you joy, comfort, and contentment. May you bring hope to another.
A Little More about Linda
Born and raised in Lenawee County, Michigan, I chose to stay and raise two boys of my own. They are grown now and have made us grandparents five times. One of the grandboys currently lives with us along with one dog, a Black Lab, one cat, a tortoise-shell calico--well two if you count the one that won’t leave the garage, thirteen hens, and one big rooster–making us chicken tenders. My husband and I have over twenty-six years behind us which seems impossible. God is opening my eyes in new ways every day. I have been writing ever since I could read but it wasn’t until May of 2018 that I found what I was called to do with the pen. It was then that Father directed me to: “Write ONLY My Words Linda,” but I get to add my own personality to it which has been described as colorful. Perhaps a tad sarcastic but always pointing back to Jesus. I take no credit but pray that each time you read a message you will feel the touch of our Father.