19 December 2011

What are you dreaming of?”

“May the God of hope fill you with 
with all joy and peace as you trust in Him”
- Romans 15:13

This weekend one of my grandkids wrote this message on Facebook, “Its my favorite season and I can’t even play in the snow.” They live in Chicago, and right now there is no snow. For some people a “white Christmas” means fun making snow angels, snowball fights, building forts, sledding and skiing. For me, thoughts of a white Christmas make me nostalgic!

It is said that when Irving Berlin wrote the song “White Christmas,” his original assignment was to write about each of the major holidays of the year. He found it hard to write about Christmas, so he wrote from his experiences of Christmastime in New York and Los Angeles. I grew up looking forward to watching the movie every year, and consider it a timeless classic. Several years and lots of Christmas movies later, it is still one of my favorites.

Many of the themes of Christmas are reflected in the movie, including celebrations with family and friends, Christmas trees and holiday decorations. There are only a few more days until Christmas and this week will be filled with last minute decorating, shopping, gift-wrapping, and lots of festivities. As we continue to prepare our hearts for Christmas, the peace of the season can be overshadowed not only by the busy-ness of our preparation, but also by our memories.

It’s fun to watch movies depicting the “perfect holiday,” but we need to be careful when comparing those fictional lives to our own. As much as we may want to live up to the images of people enjoying “magical moments,” is it a reality?

For many people, holidays are extremely difficult – even our most cherished memories can fill us with overwhelming feelings of sadness or loss. Life happens ... divorce, deployment, relocation, and death are just a few of the many stressors that become even larger during this time of festive gatherings. A memory of a wonderful family get-together can quickly change in to the reality of being separated. The joy of receiving a Christmas card from a family member might bring up feelings of the loss of a loved one. A favorite treasured ornament hung on the tree, may also be a sad reminder of happier days.

Even though the movie “White Christmas” doesn’t have a religious theme, when the Inn in Vermont is in jeopardy of having to close its’ doors, a caring community (the soldiers), are called to come together, to remember the time they spent together and to help the General. As Christians, that is what we are called to do... to offer a helping hand, to love one another (John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10, 1 Peter 3:8).

Hearts are healed when those who are going through grief are remembered in our thoughts and prayers. Take a moment this week to reach out to those who are moving through loneliness, life-altering changes, loss, or grief. Whether you are dreaming of a white Christmas, a peace-filled day, or a festive time with family and friends, may we all remember and honor those who are no longer with us, and cherish those who are.

In this most magical of seasons, may you find peace, love and much happiness.
Blessings, Donna Weaver

“God is so big He can cover the whole world with His love,
and so small He can curl up inside your heart.”
- June Masters Bacher

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