Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas in January

It's the second weekend of January, and I'm still celebrating Christmas. I guess that's what happens when you try to find the silver lining in whatever life brings.

Yesterday I watched the DVD of the Texas Rangers landmark season as the American League champions. It was a Christmas present that had to be shipped late. It was fun to watch and to appreciate my nephew for getting it for me. Today, another shipment of presents came, including a fascinating coffee-table book with writings and photographs of art masterpieces inspired by the Bible. And then there's my iPhone, which I guess I effectively traded in the camera to get! (I was going to get the iPhone anyway, but now that I have it, the camera can wait, or so it seems.)

Tomorrow, I'm singing a Christmas song at church. I debated all week whether it would be OK to do so late, and I've decided, with some encouragement from family and friends, that it is OK. I didn't have a chance to sing special music during December. And the message of what happens at Christmas isn't just for Christmas. As I've practiced, I've enjoyed being reminded that "love came down ... chains (are) broken ... songs of hope (ring) through the skies ... A Father calls through a gift of life ...."

Continued celebrations of Christmas seem fitting in a week of days in which I've tried to find blessed gifts in new and sometimes trying circumstances.

My body and mind and home life still aren't crazy about my new work schedule, but they're all glad I have a job and that, so far, I've been able to keep a good attitude and get started on developing a good routine. Right now, though, it also seems like work when I'm home, because I have to keep a pretty tight schedule if I want to get anything done at all. I still have no sense of passage of time between when I get up and when I go to work. I'm more accustomed to work (or church) being the first order of business each day. It's strange to have time to do so many other things first ... and tempting to not be ready when all of a sudden it's time to actually go to work. Meanwhile, my husband and I have made the most of maximizing some of our time together. That's been good. I think we both realize we had taken for granted the great schedules and work flexibility we'd had these past 28 or so years.

Being scheduled to allow me to attend choir practice on Wednesdays is every bit the gift I thought it would be. Choir members were glad to see me, and I was more appreciative to be there than perhaps I had been before. Again, it's amazing how easy it is to take things for granted. It's also interesting to me that, as important as The Seeking Hour at 7 a.m. Wednesdays had seemed to me, I'm not really upset to give that up. I do hope to continue to include aspects of that prayer discipline in my week if not my daily routine.

Friday, I visited a friend in the hospital. I'm not sure I would have done that with the old work schedule. I think my visits with my dad during his recovery from lung surgery last fall also impressed upon me the importance of such visits. Even though my friend could not speak or clearly acknowledge he knew who I was, I felt much hope and continue to pray it's just a matter of time before a breakthrough leads to a strong surge of recovery.

Yesterday and today, the sun shone brightly. That's always a gift in January, even when potentially nasty weather more typical of the season is in the immediate forecast. I'm grateful for every sunny day -- and grateful for insulated outerwear, warm clothes, heaters, a car that runs, etc., on the days when the weather isn't so bright.

Today is a gift. Life is a gift. Gratitude is a gift. Love is a gift. Blessed by all of these and more each moment from God, how can I not feel the joy of Christmas all these days later? Thank You, God. And I'm reminded that the way to most fully experience these gifts is to share them. I pray to do so, to God's glory.

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