Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas celebration. This year all of our children were home, even though that meant we celebrated on Christmas Eve day to make sure everyone was included. Maybe because this was special for us, I listened carefully to other people sharing their Christmas traditions:

Jim and Joan, who say, “Christmas is Christmas.” They celebrate on the 25th, no matter who is home. When their distant children arrive a day or two later, they open their presents then.

Nancy, who spent Christmas day alone, in her pjs, watching classic movies. Her children traveled to visit their father and spend Christmas with him. As a divorced parent, Nancy has learned to make adjustments and avoid the pain of holidays spent apart from loved ones. Actually, she looks forward to it and still loves the holiday.

My brother, Dan, who spent Christmas Day at a homeless shelter serving lunch. It’s his ministry and his way to celebrate his own blessings. The next day he was on a plane to Hawaii, so he had much to celebrate this year.

Our Christmas Day was spent visiting our aging parents – separately –in their retirement communities on opposite sides of town.

I think back on Christmases over the years: the first one away from my parent’s home; the first one as a new bride; the first one away from my children. Each of these experiences marked a passage of some sort; a measure of the change in life. Some left me feeling hallow and hurt; some signaled an exciting new phase of my journey through life.

This year I felt, for the first time, like a true “sandwich generation” mom – balancing parents and kids (adults, but still my babies); thinking about the passing of the torch to the next generation.

Wrapped up in our changing celebrations are feelings of home, of family, of love. Sometimes the holiday feelings we seek seem elusive; other times we feel richly and fully blessed.

My wish for you as we enter this New Year is that you will find many occasions – the special and the ordinary – to experience the feelings of deep contentment, joy and love. And that you’ll discover new ways to celebrate the changing seasons of life.

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