Christmas 2009

Christmas is almost over and I sit here on the floor in front of my beautiful lit Christmas tree thinking about what joy actually is.  I was thinking how sometimes I don’t feel joy.  Depression takes it’s toll on me and I wonder how to go on.  I guess I have always believed that to be struggling with something as I do with depression or lack of faith and belief, that you have no joy.  But my heart is wondering if that’s really true.  Can I be depressed yet be joyful?  Can I feel like I can’t go on anymore, yet find joy in the journey?  Can bad feelings co-exist with joy?

I want to believe that it can.  That dealing with life and it’s ugly truths of being human can exist with a inner joy.  I have been struggling with some issues that I thought were gone and my “joy” has been non-existent.   But as I sit here by the tree, I’m reminded that joy is not based on outer circumstances but something that is living down in the deepest part of my soul.  Sometimes depression, lies from the enemy keeps it hidden.  But I know that it’s there.  Today has been one of those days that have been filled with moments of depression and moments of joy.  So, yes I think they can co-exist.

Struggles is just life.  Inner joy is the knowledge that God is in those struggles.

Desperate to be Turned Upside Down

Currently my church is doing a series titled “Upside Down Christmas” and I’m looking forward to hearing tomorrow’s sermon. To be perfectly honest last weeks sermon is a hazy memory, not due to Paul (love listening to him!) but to the fact I was extremely tired and I keep thinking how I couldn’t wait to get home. Most of the time I am rushing from work to church after working a long day.

I don’t think a lot of people understand how hard it is to look at Christmas other than a frenzy mass amount of people buying gifts, then someone like me that works a zillion hours a week keeping those people satisfied. Not only the customers needs need to met, but there is company dollar goals to met, employee needs to be met, boss’s needs to be met and playing my part to make the region and district goals. Yeah, I know everyone’s companies have goals, but I am talking about during this specific time of the year when in my business is what we have practiced for all year. Goals and expectations are amplified this time of year!

To be perfectly honest again, I have had absolutely no Christmas spirit so far. Zip. Zippo. Zilch. December 5 and my Christmas tree has the bottom tier in the stand and the other two pieces still in the garage. This is new for the girl that has about 8 boxes of Christmas decorations and has for years and years tried to make sure that everyone of them found a place to display themselves. I can’t listen to Christmas music, I have not bought one Christmas present. “Christmas” is just part of the job.

Amid the long lines, the long hours, the customers that throw things at my cashier because we are out of the free item of the day…….I am desperate for Jesus. I am desperate for the baby Jesus. I am desperate for some ounce of CHRISTmas spirit. I’m not talking “Ho,Ho,Ho” spirit, but,” Holy, Holy, Holy” spirit. I am usually someone who gives 110% to making things happen. That can be proven by my long lines and dollar goals being met and exceeded. I am successful at work this holiday season. I can sleep at night knowing I’m doing my best and making a difference. But although proud of my accomplishments, I am still left feeling hollow. Something is missing. My making “it” happen isn’t happening. I can’t seem to be able to slow down long enough to make it happen.

I want to be turned upside down and inside out until I fill that hollowness. I want to find baby Jesus and cradle Him and gaze upon Him. My friend Jody wrote about her finding Him along a stretch of highway and I cried as I read it. This is what I want, not necessarily in the same way, but in a way that makes Jesus ALIVE!

I’m hoping to finish putting my tree up tomorrow before heading to the job for a store meeting on helping customers with their “gifting” needs. I will pray while doing it that I find a way to help someone with their “Jesus” needs. Starting with myself.