As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Joy of Christmas

This morning I was talking to a friend about Christmas, and she asked how we are doing. I told her how totally joyous and full I feel this year and how it is so happy around here, and she asked why. :-)

(Funny how when we are miserable people "understand" but when we are happy folks ask why?)

I didn't have an answer right then, but on my way home from delivering some cookies, I had a chance to think about it. What was the joy? What was THIS?

I confess to you, it is not what I usually associate with Christmas.

For me Christmas has been a holiday of knowing no matter how hard I try I make someone unhappy. If there had been three sets of us to be at different parents' homes, maybe, but then, I'm sure I would have grated on someone's nerves. That happens when folks don't like you, and yes, I am fully aware of how unliked I was.*

The hardest part, though, wasn't extended family. The hardest part was right here at home.

Most of my memories of Christmas with Rob include sadness from feeling disconnected and simply wishing I felt loved by him. I know. Folks who know us...him...can say, "But he did love you." I know. I can't explain it. All I can tell you is I never felt connected to him, and it hurt, and I spent nearly 20 Christmases being in a room of people feeling totally alone, feeling like I couldn't get "it" right, knowing I was not what was wanted...and not liking Christmas.

But this year is different.

This year smile wrinkles are coming to live under my eyes, and there are creases where my cheeks sit higher and my smile is trying to catch up. When I breathe deep, it isn't to stuff down the tears but to exhale the overflow of contentedness and joy inside me because if I don't let it out somewhere, I am sure I will explode.

This year...this year is CHRISTMAS.

The Christ-mass.

The celebration of the love gift reaching beyond the lines to relationship healing, holding, and creating.

It is the unmerited gift of loving and letting someone love back...the wild wonder of belonging...of being wanted...of that being enough.

But it really isn't about me. It's the life--the lives--surrounding me.

It's Christmas light looking with the kids.
Lunch with my friend Windi.
Checking in texts from Taylor.
Fabulous folks I enjoy at the Artisan when I volunteer.
A long family dinner at my Aunt Bobbie's.
Amelia hanging out in my kitchen while I bake 17 dozen cookies.
Tammy and Vicki sitting in my living room, chatting it up with the kids and me.
Time with Scott.
New friends made today that are just groovy as all get out.
My brother being here tomorrow.
Texts from my brother-in-law as he shopped for the kids and sent me pictures so I could feel the excitement and joy as though I were shopping with them.
Rae. 'Nuff said.
Kaylan's surprise visit before he heads to Afghanistan.
Sharilyn making aluminum hats to dance in the rain with my kids.
Blessed friends (Multiple Marys and Lisas, Leanna, Kenneth and Joy, Morgan, MaryKate, and the list even Santa can't rival) to smile and laugh with us...and cry sometimes too...

The gift isn't a day...the gift is the LIFE...and I am surrounded by AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, DEEP LIVES, and because of them, my life is amazing, beautiful, and deep.

THAT is Christmas.

When I have a life THAT full, how can it be anything  but fabulous.

Yep....I *LOVE* this Christmas.


Anonymous said...

Jerri, you've been on my heart these last few days as we have gotten closer to Christmas, and I'm so glad for your joy and contentment of what is.
It's Christmas day afternoon here - it's a sunny, warm day, the presents are all opened, lots of the food has been eaten, the 3 big kids are down at the school learning to drive their remote control cars :) and the littlest one is still sleeping... and I'm just about to go spend some time with my MIL doing my daughter's new jigsaw puzzle.
I hope and pray you and your precious children will also have a day of joy, peace and lots of happy noise.
Bless you,

Jerri Kelley said...

Donna, thank you. You bless my heart with a joy blanket. For the most part, we are having a GREAT holiday. For the last 10 days or so, we have all been filled in wonder and joy and excitement. It is a miraculous thing that I can explain with no other words than the King is good, SO good. Thank you for your precious prayers and your loving compassion and thoughts for us.

"I hope and pray you and your precious children will also have a day of joy, peace, and lots of happy noise."

Oh, yes, woman of God..."lots of happy noise". Yes, indeed.

Blessings to you and your precious family. May the God of all good things pour out on you and yours in new and beautiful ways, and may your eyes behold the manifest acts of His wonder and glory.

Merry Christmas.