I love Christmas and the whole holiday season... except when it winds down and the tree is gone and the lights are gone and January blahs set in.
So to combat the letdown, our family has collected a nice amount of snowmen and snowflakes~ mostly handmade creations~ to decorate. And I spend some free time at the computer this week, looking back and praying and dreaming into the New Year.
The last handful of years, I've prayed about a word for the year. Each time, God has given me a wonderful word: Peace. Love. Contentment. Those were the words for the last three years. They heralded in very tough, very painful years of struggle, challenge, and discontentment.
But they also prepared me for what was ahead long before I knew what I'd meet on the path before me. I've learned peace in the midst of career and family chaos. I've learned to love when that word meant a cross. And I've learned to be content when life gave me plenty of reasons to rail against contentment.
Not that I've arrived. I think maybe all the tough lessons are because I'm a little stubborn. Okay, a lot. And that's why such beautiful words have welcomed in such tough days. And such amazing opportunities.
The word for 2011 was Contentment. I've looked back to see last year was a series of medical non-answers, lots and lots of hours spent working on two books, and the reality that God was there in the midst of it all.
I remain hopeful that the word for 2012 will come with some lessons that challenge and stretch me— some of which fall in the category of "good" and not all "painful."
My word for 2012 is Family. Not the word I was looking for, but it fits perfectly with what God has been doing in my life all 2011. After a stressful stretch of almost all workdays, school days, and hospital days, it's time to reorient and rest. It's time to focus in and laugh with the four people that mean more to me than anything. Then focus out and serve. Maybe even do both at the same time.
We had planned to ring in the New Year with a weekend full of family, fun, and friends. We started with a sleepover last night. Then finally starting work on our doll house today—the one we bought last Christmas and dreamed about how we'd have it put together, lights installed, and decorated by this Christmas.
Tomorrow we were headed to the High Museum, out to a favorite restaurant, and then on to a friend’s home to play games and usher in 2012.
But the chorus of coughs and sniffles going on behind me today says God had different plans for our New Year's weekend. I'm praying we can knock what appears to be sinus infections away and still manage to go out to eat.
But if not, we'll definitely be celebrating family and rest by welcoming in 2012 sound asleep. ;-)
So for the healthy ones out there... Enjoy ringing in the New Year a little extra for us, okay? Have a fabulous time laughing and loving and remembering and dreaming.
For those of us not able to carry on with plans as usual... Enjoy ringing in a New Year where God has already gone ahead and is preparing both us and the circumstances around us to see and know that He is God and He is good.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! May 2012 be a year filled with the love of God, the hope of Christ, and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. And may you be encouraged and strengthened as you receive from God and overflow to all of those around you.