Remembering Christmas

My grandparents always had the same Christmas tree.  I'm pretty sure they bought it in the late 1950's and put the exact same decorations on it for 50 years.  Every single year it was white with teal blue decorations.  We did get to put new tinsel on it every year.  Most of it would end up in the vacuum, but it was really fun throwing it around the room.  Everything in her house was the same.  Occasionally my mom would move her living room couch 90 degrees when my grandmother wanted to mix things up.  She even recovered her sofa once, and that was a really big deal.  I still have the king size comforter that spread across her bed for 50 years. Somehow it is still in decent shape and stylish.  Her taste in furniture was brilliant and many of her chairs sit in my house in Austin reminding me of her.  

My granddad was hysterical.  He loved to tell stories about growing up on a farm and being in the Navy.  He was a cook on a ship and I can imagine he drove everyone crazy with pranks and tales.  He could also mix up the best bundt cake in Longview, TX, and he gave away hundreds of them.  The day he was written up in the local paper for giving away his cakes topped all of his life achievements, and he had many.  He always wrote a Christmas story for us and we read the story of Jesus every single year in their living room on Christmas Eve.  I loved playing football or whiffle ball in the front yard, or flying down the giant hill on North 10th Street on our bikes or a sled if we were lucky.  I even loved when their mean neighbor, Mr. Fitzpatrick,  next door would come outside and steal our ball if it went in his yard.  It was awesome.  I remember those days and they were good.  I was young and life was different.  


Yesterday a friend of mine who is absolutely amazing, honestly one of God's best and I sincerely mean that, mentioned how difficult life is.  Or can be.  Or has been lately.  She is ready to just hop right on off of this planet and straight into the arms of Jesus.  She works hard and so does her husband.  They have two incredible boys, both born in China and deaf.  She has a different life than most, but equal pain to many.  This life can bring serious depletion.  

Very few are unfamiliar to this feeling of exhaustion.  Maybe you are legitimately walking through something so hard right now.  My mom wants to be well after two years of feeling drunk from having a major stroke. She can't balance long enough to walk in a straight line.  She misses being a normal person.  Maybe this is you too?  My cousin is ringing in this Christmas season with her three kids five years after losing her husband to suicide AND she has cancer.   Can you relate to this pain?  My brother is an addict and his children desperately want him to just show back up in their lives and be human again.  They are tired of making excuses for him.  They are not alone in missing loved ones who still walk this Earth.    

How do we get through this season with joy when we just want to stop living like this?  Lord can we just have a moment?  Just a moment with nothing but lollipops, rainbows and a good cup of peace.  But like a good long moment, and not drug induced.  How about a pain free 10 years, and then we can re-evaluate the situation?  If I could just sit in my grandparents' living room again, or fly down that giant hill all the way to their front yard.  Maybe just hear my granddad in the kitchen again at the ungodly hour of 4:30 in the morning cooking another stupid bundt cake.  Would that do it for me?  Maybe.  The lemon ones were so stinking delicious.   

I can't go back, but I am going to dig deeper this year.  There is much good on this planet, truly.  Every moment is rich with life and love and pain.  God is listening to my words as I type them.  He gives newness with every moment I have with my family.  Renewing my love of life with memories and new experiences.  He shows me so much need in this life and the millions of ways I can settle in and show up.  All of the stories I hear from women on a daily basis remind me that I am not alone.  No one is immune to pain or hardship, and everyone is ready for peace.  I'm even going to be nicer to my dog this year.    

I led a song this week at Life Austin called Healer.  I see every face in the crowd as I sing.  If not literally, I feel a heavy cloud of need in the room.  I want to relieve some of the burden for a moment by reminding them of who God is.  He is mysterious, yes, but He also lifts burdens and He feels pain and He created us all in His image.  I can't make you see Him like I do, but I can do my best.  I remember the good because He tells me to, and I remember the pain.    

This life is short.  A blink.  I will open my eyes wider this year.  So many things we fixate on just don't matter much at all.  People matter though.  You matter.  You are here for something big.  And if we readjust our gaze, we find joy and meaning and hope in the little things.  Reach out further this year.  

Get outside and see this incredible space we have to live in.  
Right after you scream as loud as you can for as long as you like, take a moment to breathe it all in.    This year we remember the pain and feel the dirt in our hands and we grow.  No matter what, we are going to live in this house.  No matter how broken, no matter what pain remains, we choose to live, and if I could choose for you, I would choose life too.  

I'm lifting up everyone I can think of today in prayer to the Lord.  He is good and He has you on His mind today and always.  


  1. You are simply my favorite Allison. =)

  2. You are simply my favorite, Allison. =)

  3. Beautiful words. A wonderful reminder as we approach another blessed year!


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