Sunday, December 7, 2008

Living the season...

It's 10pm on Sunday night as I write this. The house is quiet and I'm sitting on the couch enjoying the candle light and Christmas lights I set out on my piano. I thought about putting on some Christmas music, but I think silence is even better right now.

Every year about this time, I sit alone for a while and think about God and Jesus and Christmas and gifts and stress and cookies and calories and goodwill and good deeds. I try to gain some perspective on the holiday season, try to replace the emphasis on love rather than stuff.

One of my very best friends in all the world is Amy. When we lived close to each other (how I miss those days!), she and I would have the most amazing discussions about helping others, sharing the season's joy, inspiring our children to understand and live the true meaning of Christmas. She, and her faith, were, and still are, such an inspiration to me. Thank you for that, Amy!

I've been debating things to do for others this season, shying away from the things that make me feel uncomfortable. My heart would love to volunteer for WHO (Winter Hospitality Overflow -- an overflow shelter) at our church, but my head is nervous. Other things take so much time and coordination. How can I fit it all in?

Sometimes I forget it doesn't have to be complicated...

My wonderful (and extraordinarily deaf) neighbor, Gloria, is 86 years old and no longer drives. She's a shut-in with less than ideal family in the general vicinity. She is the most active and vivacious 80-something I've ever met!

I drive her places, like the dentist or the bus station. I invited her (and she came!) on a ladies' night out last summer. She and I hit the new JC Penney's the day it opened in our neighborhood. We've gone to lunch at the new Olive Garden, too.

Last week, Gloria came over and asked if I would take her out to the stores "to get in the holiday mood". She puts on such a happy face, but I know she's lonely. I was so glad that she came over and asked. The next day, we went to Joann's and she just loved browsing through all the amazing craft supplies. Her smiles just filled my heart.

I think this week, I'll try to take her to the mall for a couple hours and let her enjoy all the holiday splendor. If I can convince her to sit on Santa's lap, I'll post the photo here!!!!

I think I achieved my goal in writing this post. That being said I wasn't sure if the simple acts of helping an elderly neighbor were enough to demonstrate Jesus' love. But it is. It's so easy to help Gloria, to make her smile, to break the loneliness. It's not complicated or time-consuming, but it's God's work nonetheless.

At some point, I would love to do more. To have the courage to break through my hesitations. To expand my carefully protected little world. Maybe that will take several years' worth of prayers. I don't know. I'll just have to trust the signs God will send to tell me when I'm ready.

Enjoy the peace of the season, friends.

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