The Christmas season can be a joyous time as we celebrate our faith. It can also be stressful, lonely, or downright sad for those of us who have lost loved ones, or are experiencing financial or career difficulties, family troubles or separation due to military service, illness, or loss of any kind. Some may just be weary of the commercialism and the pressure to create what the media or Hollywood tells us is the perfect Christmas. Let's face it, we all live in the real world, right?
At this point in my life (and yes, I'm admitting to having hit the big 5-0 in May of this year), I can say that I have, or am currently experiencing most of what I've described above. Despite this reality, I am finding within myself the deep desire to reconnect with the simple joy of the season. Somewhere within my soul the strength has come to take hold of what is, and to make peace with what isn't.
For me, the central focus of Christmas will always be the message and the measure of God's love for mankind. It is because of this that I've decided to find joy in the midst of reality and to reclaim the magic of the season. I'm inviting you to join me in this quest, as I share my first ever Christmas journal. I happened upon Shimella Laine's web site while Googling Christmas journaling. It seems I'm not the first person to think of this or to have this desire. Throughout the month of December, and continuing to January 6, I will be participating in her online workshop, Journal Your Christmas. I'll post my journal pages and I invite you to share your own thoughts and insights. I didn't discover the workshop until a few days after it started, so I'll be playing catch-up this week. Are you ready?
The first order of business is a Christmas Manifesto (sounds more ominous than it is!) and a promise to myself of what I will focus on.
You probably recognize the photo - I posted it a few days ago!
One of the participants had used this format for her journaling. I tailored it to suit my own ideas.
Can you read that date? Yes, it's 1964! I'm the little one on the right and I'm with my big sister, Lorrie. I was 3 1/2 and she was 5 1/2. Just look at the expression on my face - I looked so mischievous. The journal card reads: We were together in 1964 at Wanamaker's in Philadelphia to see Santa. Ever one to buck the system, I remember trying to climb over the railing to get to Santa. In 2011, we were together again for the Christmas display at Longwood Gardens.
The journaling: The places we visit have changed, but we still spend time together. We made our visit to Longwood Gardens on December 1, 2011. We both have the same model camera, and we had fun learning from each other how to shoot in the varying light conditions of the Conservatory. When I look at all of this beauty, my heart is filled with joy. I treasure this time spent with my sister. I know that things won't stay the same. Change is in the nature of life. That is why it is so important to make the most of the time we have together.
Do you have a favorite spot that you like to spend time at this time of year? Are you in a place you would rather not be? I welcome you to share your thoughts .
Have a wonderful day, and God bless you!
Until next time,