I’m glad you are here to celebrate!
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One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is plug in the Christmas tree lights before any other lights are on. I use a flashlight to find the outlet and light the tree while sleepy wisps are still clearing from my mind.
The coffee starts to brew and I sit on the dark end of the couch soaking in the tiny white lights. Sometimes my resistant for only one set of lights in the wee hours of the morning crumbles and I light the banister too. The tree and the stockings make my heart warm.
Over the years of building a forever family I’ve been worn at the holiday season. Love is not easy for children from hard places and over-the-top love within a season of irregular schedules and unpredictable events can make even those of us who love Christmas the most wonder if we should wrap up the white lights.
Christmas joy is a result of met expectations. We must be careful with our expectations or we can become disenchanted. Sometimes we might consider giving up hope.
We have been a forever family for kids from hard places for more than a decade. This is the first Christmas that hasn’t rolled in with turmoil and I wondered if maybe Christmas isn’t worth getting all giddy about.
Plugging in a strand of lights is an act of hope. Like most acts of hope, it makes me feel ridiculous.
The world tells us to worry and demand results.
Never will these responses heal broken people.
When we’re in the thick of the hard, battling for what’s right in a world that offers grotesque and malicious, it is easy to forget that hope is sensible.
We’ve had eleven frightful Christmas seasons. Kids from dark corners work to destroy joy and peace. That’s what happens when we let the world inside our homes and hearts. Hurting people hurt people.
I sit on the dark end of the couch with white light twinkling. It’s different this year. I like to think it’s because my precious kids from very hard places no longer need to confirm forever.
There’s less need to sling vicious words or wield wild fists. They’ve discovered forever.
Healing is not restoring perfection. Healing is scars. When hearts are broken and broken again and hurt slices souls, humans must discover if love is worth letting in. We test love in all kinds of ways, twisting and pushing on the hearts of those who want to be close to us, those who proclaim to be real.
It’s not just children from hard places who test others.
Because if we’re honest, we’re all from hard places. We’re all fighting weary battles. We’re an orchestra that creates a cacophony of human emotions.
It’s easy to be scratched by hard hearts.
The only sensible choice is hope.
For me hope is plugging in one more strand of white lights. For Andy it’s watching a game with his buddies. Sam places a train track around the tree, and Jordan plays video games with his best friend. Hannah organizes her closet and Stephanie choses to believe that the world does offer good.
This week she was in the car with Andy and said, “Dad, I’ve figured out the secret to being happy.”
“What’s that?” Andy asked.
“You just do the right thing and then no matter what happens, it still feels good.”
Hope is sensible. This season I celebrate seeing the fruits of hope.