'Tis the season...

Snow is blanketing our part of the world.  We received about 10 inches of snow last week, and it's still here.  The temperature hasn't gotten above 23 in a couple of days.  It is unusual for Arkansas to get this much snow this early.  Last time we had a big snowfall, it was in February of 2011 and 22 inches stayed around for about a week.  Makes it seem like Christmas is already here.

Those of us who have lost loved ones, and are losing our loved ones to HD, the holiday season is a mixed bag.  We are missing my mom this year, and Lacy is where he is in the HD onward march.  There are occasions now when he can't speak clearly, or at all.  He falls occasionally, and his moods are up and down.  In spite of all this, Lacy came home for about 3 hours on Thanksgiving day.  It was a wonderful time with everyone at our house and the good food was abundant.

I find myself wanting to find happiness in the season, and I do to an extent.  There is always this check inside me.  I've been here before:  Happiness is hit head on by a health crisis.  The wind is knocked out of the fragile state of mind.

I've heard many people in my church and in my life remind me not to let anything "steal my joy."  I honestly think that my joy has never been "stolen" but others on the outside may see it that way.  Yes, memories of better times create sadness.  Those Christmases when Lacy was himself, and his happiness was infectious:  Those years - as Lacy himself now sometimes recalls through tears - those years are gone.  Perhaps it is more that my happiness is not as strong.  No, I am not happy every single day (and this is hard for me to say, and might be harder for some of my friends and family to hear).  But happiness is not the goal of the Christian life.  One of my favorite writers, Kay Arthur, wrote once, "God is not interested in your happiness, He is interested in your holiness."

The purpose of a life of faith is to live in the sure knowledge of God's promise and the steadfast nature of his love.  This I am holding on to every day.  This gives me joy; not the "blissful, exuberant" definition in Webster's dictionary, but the faith and assurance of the scripture:  The quiet assurance that God has made a way when there seems to be no way;  trusting that He never sleeps.  He guards the ones I love night and day.

'Tis the season for joy.  Not the jumping up and down, hyperventilating, making a fool out of yourself "joy," but the "I know that my Redeemer lives" kind of joy.

Here's my scripture for the season. It has been rolling around in my mind daily.  I think this is my favorite scripture of all time.  A quite dramatic scene playing out in a very ordinary place:

"And He came to Nazareth, where He hand been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.  And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, 

     ' The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel
       to the poor.  He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of
       sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable
       year of the Lord.'

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him.  

And He began to say to them, 'Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'"  Luke 4:16-21

This is the "news of great joy" the angels spoke to the shepherds about.  Joy might smolder and be reduced to a spark, but it is always there.  There is a promise here, and I'm hanging on to it for dear life.


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