What most people consider the most wonderful time of the year can also be the most hectic and stressful. Yet for many, they still grasp every moment of the holiday season, knowing these are priceless memories. I like many of you readers, was eagerly anticipating this Christmas. It had been eight years since I’d been able to host neighbors, family and friends into my home for the holiday season. This year was going to be special.
And then-suddenly and without warning, my life was brought to an abrupt stop. As we have so often heard, we can’t stop God’s plans when they are set in motion. Nor can we always understand His ways. A routine day with chores and errands, changed the schedule of my life for the next thirty three days.
What began as intense abdominal cramping escalated to intense pain with two hospital visits and the second requiring a four-day hospital admission. Christmas shopping was immediately ceased. Visions of “sugar plums” and all other holiday baking and cooking were merely dreams. Containers of Christmas decorations were strewn around; only partially adorning my house.
I was too ill and in too much pain to even cry. I prayed daily, seeking God’s direction in this enormous road block. It was not merely a detour in my holiday plans, but the “bridge was out.” The path was impassable. As I have done during such situations in my life, all I could do was ask God for His peace and direction. I was confused and perplexed as to what He was telling me.
When I relocated to TX last year, I sought God’s direction in every aspect of my life; the home I purchased, the church and organizations I joined. Now as I watched the days click by on the calendar, one event after the other was being canceled. Perhaps the greatest disappointment of all, was that I was unable to participate in the Christmas church events; always the highlight of my holiday schedule.
Day after day as I was lying in bed or in the hospital, I clutched my memories of Christmases past; the parties which I not only hosted, but also those I attended. I thought of the many years when my sewing machine ran for hours while completing special gifts for family and friends. One of the greatest joys of my holidays was baking and candy making. This would be the first year in over fifty-three years that I would not be making even one batch of a “sweet treat.”
I may never know nor understand God’s plan for this holiday season. However, I will always reflect back on this year that no matter how alone I feel, I will be grateful for the opportunities God has given me. Each event will be cherished. When I can stand in the kitchen baking and cooking, I will “give thanks” for the ability to do so. Next Christmas the music will be more beautiful, the food more delectable and the love of friends and family more dear. We can’t always appreciate what we do have until we no longer have it. I Thess. 5:18 NKJ, “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”