By Laurie Jane Stawicki
It was Christmas break, and I was home from college. I attended the University of Northern Iowa. The big white farmhouse with green shutters housed my two younger brothers, who were 16 and 18 and my sister who was 18 months older than I. Her boyfriend was visiting from Germany, and we were having our common teenage times of visiting with friends, and doing our regular things, however, all was not well.
As we watched our mom go from a bright-eyed perky person to a depressed, zombie-like state, we worried and wondered and hoped.
Christmas that year was strange without Dad, who had left us to go with another. But what was stranger was that Mom’s brother Uncle D. came and helped Mom shop for gifts for us. The usual lights and brights of Christmases past were not to visit us that year. Christmas morning was solemn and somber as mom sat in a catatonic state on the couch and we took turns opening our gifts and thanking her. We had gifts for her too but she seemed vacant and foggy.
Later that day, preparing to go to my Grandmother’s house in town, my brothers and sister and I snapped a picture of ourselves out in the snow by our cars. Someone had lobbed a snowball at someone else so there were a few smiles, but in the photo, the strain and worry and somberness of that particular season showed up on our faces.
I am not telling this to depress you. I am sharing this because not everyone around us is having a merry Christmas. Although we all have so much to be thankful for, even for breath, food, clothes, life, and whatever family and friends remain in our lives, we can be thankful! Even if loved ones are no longer in your life, it is great to remember them with gratitude; the opportunity to have known them and to share some part of your life enriched or taught you or brought understanding that we may not have had any other way.
I have often said that people need to have grace on others while in the grocery line and while driving. I think it’s important to be polite and give others the benefit of the doubt. You never know what news they just received from the doctor, or what family member had a difficult thing to share on the phone that morning. We need to not take everything personally but give our brothers and sisters on the earth grace for whatever may be happening in their lives.
How about you? Can you relate to a joyous occasion turning out less than joyous? Or a season of loss and grief in life that seems to be accentuated by the expectations that there should be joy and peace?
What would you say if I told you that there can be joy and peace no matter what has happened, and no matter what is going on in your life? When we look up to the cross and to Christ and see the sorrows that he endured in order to make sure we had a way to have access to his most loving, holy, heavenly Father for eternity, we can focus on the blessing of Christmas; the fact that because Jesus Christ the Messiah came to earth, we can see through any trial, looking forward to the end result, the salvation of our souls.
© 2020 Laurie Jane Stawicki
Laurie Stawicki, singer/song-writer, poet and writer, lives, loves and creates in Iowa where she is mom to five children (and others by association) and a labradoodle dog. Raised in a Christian home, yet marked by abuse, she has spent her time praying, journaling, reading and singing all the while learning more and more about the healing God offers through his Son Jesus Christ. It is her hope that her upcoming book, “Sacrifice of Tears,” will be a blessing to others by showing them the possibility of redemption even through family tragedy, and the hope we all can have in the Lord.
She can be reached at Laurie.Jane1 at yahoo.com and www.LaurieStawicki.com.