Ending the Old Year with Peace, Starting the New Year with Joy

It’s been a long time since I posted on this blog.  We’ve had a packed semester at our house.  The kids are part of a homeschool group that meets once a week and they’re involved in martial arts classes twice a week.  Then there’s church on Sunday and various concerts we attend since my parents are members of a professional orchestra.  As a confirmed introvert, I find all this leaving the house exhausting.  I suspect that if I didn’t have good reasons to walk out my front door, I might never do so except to get the mail.  I do love paper mail.

I’ve been writing on another blog, though, and working on a massive personal writing project.  All that means that this poor blog has grown old and dusty.  It’s been relegated to the back of my online closet.  But I think it’s high time I shook the wrinkles out of it and brought it back to life.

Christmas is just around the corner and we’re trying to spend it in a way that honors the Lord, keeps us in the right frame of mind, and is peaceful.  When we lived in India most people in our town did not celebrate the holiday or understand its origin.  We didn’t have to travel during the month of December or keep up with the Joneses in house-decorating or gift-giving.  The gifts we did receive came in packages from grandparents, and to make room for them in our tiny mountain apartment we had to give away most of the toys and clothes of the previous year, mostly to a local orphanage with which we had a close relationship.  For us Christmas in India was lonely and quiet.  But it seemed manageable, somehow, and pregnant with meaning.

We love the season and we’re thankful to be spending our second Christmas in the US with our families.  This is no small blessing.  But we’ve noticed that it’s harder than ever to keep our heads with regard to gift-giving, activities, Santa-everything, concerts, travel, crafts, baking.  It’s a lot.  It’s too much.  This year, though, we’ve tried to focus on time with family, opening our home to foreigners whose paths intersect with ours, and nightly Advent readings.  This does not mean that we didn’t buy gifts for one another this year.  We did.  They were not handmade or secondhand, either, lest anyone should mistake me for someone else.  Amazon is my friend and I’m not afraid to say it (though I can do without drones delivering my books).  In the end, though, I’m thinking that this Christmas will line up more closely to the way I hoped it would be–with a few surprises thrown in, of course.

No matter what the season brings for you and yours, I hope it is filled with peace.  The new year is coming, and with it, all manner of fresh beginnings.  May you meet them head-on, well-rested and whole.  Because I’ve found that peace almost always enables joy.

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