Prayer TimeIn my meager attempt to return to practicing being in the presence of God, I lightly pressed my hands upon my face as I laid in bed and turned my thoughts to Him. On Christmas Eve, at 9 a.m. my house was already active with noise. So I really had to work on concentrating, focusing myself on being with God. Hearing my teen son running up and down the steps, my husband putting dishes up in the kitchen, and of course, the TV was already on in the Living Room, I pressed in and through the distractions. I know if I get up, I will never come back to prayer with Him. I will see everything that is calling my name to be done and with the noisiness of an active household, I sadly won't hear His voice.
So as my thought meandered in His presence, particularly on Christmas Eve, I reflected about family ties. Before I went to bed last light I noticed some wedding pictures of families that I know through church. Like all the wedding pictures I see, so many people surround the couple rejoicing. The reception is very festive and in a barn (as is so common in 2014). There is great laughter with dancing, and I can tell that a very fun time was had by everyone. When I clicked through theses photos, I saw a family picture that included extended family, like the size you would see at a family reunion. In a beautiful outdoor landscape, about 75 people young and old stood with the couple in their wedding attire. It was a lovely photo and one not often taken at weddings that probably should be taken regularly.
Extended FamiliesLooking at the large family I had the same feeling I get so many other times when I see large, family-gathering photos; I feel a sorrow knowing my children will not have a wedding like that or a family photo like that. All throughout their life, it has only been my husband and myself that are their family. We alone attend their celebrations and milestones of life. I thought about how the bride and groom have sides for sitting and know our side would be very thin. At times of weddings and holidays, our thoughts, of course, turn to extended family. I think about what could be and what is. We can live all year as a little foursome but when extended family parties begin on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we are still a foursome. (We use to be five but my oldest son has chosen to not be part of his family).
In writing that last note in the parenthesis, I wonder if you my reader thinks what on earth is wrong with us that we are only four and have even "lost" our oldest son. For this article post, it is too complicated to explain the details.
I just saw someone's holiday photo entitled "Full driveway = Full hearts" and it tugged at my heart. It is what happens when we drive around and see a house that has cars all lined up in the driveway and down the street. We know someone is having a holiday gathering of family. Truly, I am happy for them but at the same time I feel a loss in my heart. I am wrong to be honest? I rejoice with my friends who have family coming home, but at the same time I hurt and know others who heart because someone special will be missing. That feeling of someone or something missing has been a permanent part of my children's life, they know friends have been gatherings of family and they do not. We have always tried to make the best of simply being together and sharing the time we have with each other in our own unelaborated way.
But in prayer today I heard God say, "Is Jesus Enough?"The truth is we have no presents under our tree and the stockings at this moment are empty. We went on a Christmas trip and spent our money for gifts on spending time with each other. So the question is very poignant this year, "Is Jesus Enough?"
If in our family photo we have Jesus, is that enough to make up for all the extended family that are not standing side by side smiling and supporting the young couple. "Is Jesus Enough?"
At our Christmas gathering in our home, when it is just the four of us, "Is Jesus Enough?"
For me and my sweet four, He is more than enough! Jesus being the essence of our life is what we aim for in all we do, in our choices of how we shall live.
A simplified life is what I have always admired and this Christmas we could not be more simplified. We will miss my oldest son, and it will feel odd not opening presents, but the truth is "Jesus" is all we need and want. I am grateful to say, that we get to experience a Christmas this year that is totally focused on Jesus. We didn't plan it that way but maybe God planned it for us. I won't know what it will end up being like until it is over, but I trust it will be full and satisfying.
May you have a blessed holiday together with your family and may Jesus be in the center of your Christmas.