This time of year is different for everyone I guess. How we feel about the the "Holiday Season" is shaped pretty strongly by our past experiences, our childhood memories, and in some cases unfortunately family drama. My Christmas memories are pretty full of all three to be honest, but it has always been a time of year when I was excited. I was eager to see if I made the right gift choice for a loved one. I was anticipating vacation time with the family, even if it just meant more time sitting home playing games or watching TV together. I couldn't wait for the feast that was Christmas Dinner, and the traditions that came with it like my Mom's ambrosia salad or my Uncle's Strudel.
This year the holidays are here, and it doesn't feel like I'm two days before Christmas. We've got the tree up, but at this point we haven't even gotten any presents under it. Carrie and I have gotten some of what we wanted to get for the kids this year, but have been so busy with critical issues over the last few weeks that shopping has fallen off the radar.
Christmas dinner, a Fat Boy's holy meal holds no promise this year with a restricted diet eliminating 75% of the food I would be looking forward to on our dinner table. If I was feeling better for it I probably wouldn't sound so resentful saying that, but after a week the digestive problems restrictions are supposed to be solving aren't improved and even more foods are being eliminated from my diet.
Old friends and family are still grieving the loss of a close friend from my school days who's decline started around Thanksgiving and whom passed on December 4th. As I write this my Mother-in-law is asleep in a chair at the hospital bedside of her husband, and I'm getting ready to head back to the hospital to join them while we try to find answers as to why my father-in-law who really has become "Dad" in the 16 years of my marriage had a series of seizures last night after several strokes in the last couple of months.
With his condition as serious as it is I've spent much of the last two days preparing myself that he might not make it to Christmas. I've had to hold volunteers together at the pantry we run as a family and church body, weighing keeping volunteers (who have become like family to all of us) informed, against the immediate family's need for SOME privacy and the need to keep things on track so that the more than 200 families that depend on is for food every week aren't adding food to their list of burdens this Christmas week.
With all of this going on its easy to justify why the "Joy of the Season" seems to be in short supply. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers this week. I'm heading back to the hospital, you have a Merry Christmas everyone.