“I offer all I am to the mercy of Your plan. Help me be strong. Help me be. Help me.”
~ from “Breath of Heaven”

Christmas is about a lot of things, and really, just about one thing.

In my fierce determination to keep this year centered on Christ and void of excesses and obligations, I find myself battling George Bailey Syndrome…aka Discouragement.

I look around me and see a loving, tight circle of family and friends, provision in every way, opportunities I never could have imagined. And yet, during this time of year, when I should be feeling the most blessed, I often feel the most lonely and unsure.

The only solution I know to this is, like always, not to dwell or act on how I feel, but to choose joy and peace, and to rest in the promises I know, rather than to focus on what I see in front of me.

Some of the securities we had one year ago are gone. Some of the enthusiasm I had a few months ago is hard to find. The FOR SALE sign in front of the house seems more like an annoying fixture than a conversation piece. And the elusive picture of where we are heading is blurrier than ever.

So, I am going against the adage to focus on the forest rather than the trees. The big picture holds little fascination for me right now. The trees, however, are lovely ~

– the Happy Birthday Jesus party we held here on Friday, with little kids singing and quoting scripture and praying before their PBJ…and, you know,  bonding over Polar Express.

– Rod and I having our annual date night to see It’s a Wonderful Life , maybe the best movie ever.

– cookie baking, snow-playing, helping little fingers tape the wrapping paper on their cousins’ presents, hanging up Christmas cards, listening to “Silent Night” over and over and over again, with the 4 and almost-3 year old voices joining in.

– Randa’s first ballet recital! (front row middle, prominent bun, big smile)

– visits from friends for dinner, for presents, for the simplicity of sitting down for a minute and saying, How ARE you?

– the messages and emails that say, Thinking of you, for no particular reason.

– being part of the Calvary Christmas cantata, this time with Paige

– news from afar that little bits we’ve done to help this year have made a difference

We’re deep into the Let’s reflect on this year part of the month. I can’t say it was the best. I can’t say it was bad. It was filled with huge surprises (mainly, people we met), it was filled with bumps in the road, and it was filled with a sense of not knowing what is next. But right now, this week, we’re focusing on the trees, and they are really quite lovely.