I have maintained a silence for several days. This time of year, November and December, are difficult for me, as they are for many. Society puts so many expectations on us, plus family and peer pressure to go and do, and to buy all the latest toys and gadgets for gift giving. For so many of us, financial struggles are an ongoing theme. When I was younger, my Grandma would give me five dollar bill. Since I’ve become an adult, I’ve often wondered what she gave up in order to present us with the small amount. It’s so easy to judge, based only on the immediate circumstance, rather than to look further to determine what is reality. My love for her has grown immensely as I have realized the sacrifices she had to have made in order to spoil me and my siblings. In many cases, mine included, we have multiple nieces and nephews, across the ages from baby to married with their own children. Through the year, I get things for them as I come across something I think (hope!) they will enjoy, but it always ends up lopsided as we get nearer to Christmas. I will find I have something for one brother, but nothing for the other…… and no funds to rectify it. What to do? Give nothing to either? Give the gift to the one, and leave the other to feel slighted? Of all the days in the year, Christmas is both the most difficult and one of my favorites to celebrate. Times like this are HARD. Not just for me, but for hundreds of thousands of others. The pressure is on! As hard as it is, I am working to remind myself of what I adore about this season. We celebrate the birth day of our LORD and Saviour, JESUS CHRIST. He is where our focus should be, not on the mound of presents under a tree. Our tradition for our Oklahoma family is to come together Christmas Eve to eat and fellowship and exchange gifts. It will be chaotic with a baby and a 2 year old, an 8 year old, and a 13 and 18 year old…. and all of the corresponding adults, but I love the chaos. I missed out on it for years when I was separated from family. The music and the decorations can work to either help us focus on our Emmanuel, or on the physical, worldly side. If you are estranged from family today, if it is possible, forgive and love them. In many instances it isn’t healthy or possible to be involved with birth family, so use the energy to focus on the ONE Who Loves you more than life itself; the One Who left Heaven to came to earth to sacrifice His life for your salvation. If you are physically alone on this day, look to Jesus: “For I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your GOD. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I AM here to help you.” – Isaiah 41:13 NLT

“One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.” “

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