The phrase “Melancholy While Decorating” popped in my head promptly at 4:11 this morning. I confess it perfectly depicts my mood over the past few days as we’ve been trying to decorate the house for Christmas. (Never mind I recently wrote about beating the “Bah Humbugs”….see post…) So, why so melancholy? And, is it really possible to be joyful while feeling melancholy? Read on…
Let’s push pause for a moment to pray for all the people in Newtown, Connecticut. This horrific shooting occurred between writing and posting this blog. Lord Jesus, you know our saddened hearts. Please comfort the families of the slain, the Sandy Hook Elementary School staff, and the hearts and minds of the surviving students. Draw them to you. We trust the slain children are with you. May we seek Romans 8:28* as below, as well as draw comfort from Romans 8:31 which says, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Your Word provides the answers and You are Sovereign. Praising your name, Amen. (See below for more links from excellent authors about how to process the Connecticut shootings.**)
Six Sweet Answers for Melacholy Moods: Let’s explore six spill-forth reasons for my melancholy (and perhaps yours too) along with blessings, a/k/a “Chin-ups”*:
#1 – I realized decorating for Christmas makes me miss my Mom and Dad. Are you missing a loved one this season? Some of our Christmas décor was Mom and Dad’s. Memories re-surface. Teardrops fall.
Chin up*: Think of their Heavenly surroundings! (The song I Can Only Imagine comes to mind.) We will see them again. John and I are still blessed with both of his parents here on earth, both in good health as of this writing. God is trustworthy. Psalm 145:3 tells us, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”
#2 – I also miss our brother-in-law, “J.R.” He died in July and the saddest thing is seeing how my husband has been affected. J.R. was not only John’s brother-in-law, he was a business partner, his closest confidante, and Christian ally.
Chin up*: The number of lives J.R. touched is insurmountable. Several people have come to know the Lord because of him. My sweet sis-in-law, Margee, J.R.’s wife, has a rock-solid faith and spreads it wherever she goes. J.R. is in the arms of the Lord, cancer-free, whole and healed. God is gracious. John 1: 14 enlightens: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
#3 – This melancholy mood may have been triggered by a visit to a funeral home on my first day of decorating. I stopped by in time to hug a sister-in-Christ, named Nancy, whom I met thru’ Book Club. Her husband, Don, of thirty-two years went to his Heavenly Home at the young age of fifty-three. While standing in line, I watched a beautiful-but-tearjerker-of-a-slide-show of their family.
Chin up*: Don is now with the Lord. His faith blessed everyone in his path. Nancy has two daughters, a granddaughter and another grandchild on the way. Her faith is strong and will carry them. I realized this was a good reminder to those of us with husbands, to not take them for granted and to cherish our days on this earth together. God is always with us, never leaving us alone. Cherish Matthew 28:20 – “And Lo, I am with you always.”
#4 – The third of four decorating days (pitiful, I know…) was the one-year anniversary of another dear friend’s husband’s death. My sweet friend, Kathy, lives in Columbus, Ohio and I desperately wish she was across the street so I could go have tea and tears with her.
Chin up*: Her husband, Joe, is in Heaven. Grandson Baby Joey, now sixteen months, is the love of their lives and has a sibling due any day. Our cell phones keep us connected ‘til future rendez-vous for which we live.
Savor Kathy’s recent healing words: “Christmas always seemed like the perfect time to draw strength from the Lord and trust Him with all our hearts. Coaching jobs and lack thereof built in us a resolve. A resolve to weather any storm together. Those experiences built our faith and taught us lessons we would later have to apply in Joe’s fight to live.
Little do we know that stories on our journey path sometimes are the very stones needed to pave our way into the arms of Jesus when we need HIM to carry us.” Amen and Amen. God brings healing.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 consoles: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
#5 –Believe it or not, I have a fourth friend, Gwen, whose husband also died from cancer about eighteen months ago and this Christmas seems tougher than last. We must all remember that during the first year, the loss of a loved one renders one fairly numb.
Chin up*: Mike, too, is in Heaven. Furthermore, Gwennie has already been ministering to many young wives who’ve also become widows. Not a club of one’s choosing, yet they all have a strong faith and trust in the Lord. ‘Tis a blessing to witness and experience. God prepares our path. It’s no coincidence that Gwen’s favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11. “”For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”
#6 Just for Fun – While Krogering, in the freezer section this week, my cart had to dodge a rather large object. Right next to the hash browns, there stood a six-foot tall display of Genuine Leather Slippers for the bargain price of $17.97 a pair. I was so stunned, I couldn’t move. Nobody appeared to find this unusual.
Why would one purchase slippers at the grocery store, from the freezer section, for someone for Christmas? Do you suppose they store the surplus back with the milk and eggs?
I called my friend Jane to report this absurdity. Howling ensued. We pondered: if we purchased the above, what if they didn’t fit the recipient & he/she wished to exchange the slippers? Would you reveal their origin? Well, would you?
Chin up*: This defines time management if you’re out of food and time for Christmas shopping. I digress…God blesses with a sense of humor. Proverbs 17:22a makes us smile: “A cheerful heart is good medicine…”
More Joy: This Advent Season I’ve been enjoying a book by Robert J. Morgan. (ANY book by Rob is worth the read.) This one is Come Let Us Adore Him—Stories Behind the Most Cherished Christmas Hymns.
Rob includes interesting facts and stories about the composers of the hymns, beautiful Scripture and meaningful quotes. Yes, he’s the same author who wrote three volumes of Then Sings My Soul—more stories of wonderful hymns.
Today I read about Joy to the World! (For you pianists, the actual music is included as well.)
Isaac Watts is the composer. Written in 1719, Rob tells us Joy to the World! “is Watts’ interpretation of Psalm 98, which says: ‘Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth’(verse 4). As he read Psalm 98, Watts pondered the real reason for shouting forth joyfully to the Lord—the Messiah has come to redeem us.” Love that. Let’s all SHOUT JOYFULLY!!! Yes, Virginia (put YOUR name right here), there is a joyful spirit for you too!
*The Scriptural equivalent to the above “chin ups” is Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His will.” Don’t miss the “all” in there.
FYI – If you want to know more about Romans 8:28, Rob Morgan has written my all-time favorite book of his on this very verse. The entire book teaches you, blesses you, and gives you Biblical hope over dire circumstances. It’s called The Promise—How God Works All Things Together For Good.
(On a much, much, MUCH shallower note: If you’ve arrived to this point, and you love exercise as much as I do, you may tell someone you just did six chin-ups. Permission granted. Reread ‘em for twelve.)
Oscar Wilde said, “What is beautiful is a JOY for ALL SEASONS.” May the joy of our Savior’s birth bless your heart, your moods (!) and your soul.
Finally, from the December issue of Decision magazine, Billy Graham leaves us with a great visual: “From his very birth, Christ was recognized as King. Something about Him inspired allegiance, loyalty and homage. Wise men brought Him gifts. Shepherds fell down and worshiped Him. And angels, knowing more than men that He was truly King, became celestial minstrels before His manger throne.”
I pray you and your family have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Look for some posts on making room for margin in the New Year!
‘Til next time!
(This week’s blog post is dedicated to my four very brave and newly widowed friends. Their strong faith has held me up. They amaze me. I want their total trust in the Lord. May it be so for us all. Lord, please graciously bless and comfort Margee, Nancy, Kathy, and Gwen. Thank you for sending your son for each and every one of us. Amen.)
**Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience and Bob Russell’s blog, www.bobrussell.org
Talking to Children About the Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School
I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother
Max Lucado: A Christmas Prayer
The Gospel and Newtown
An Attempt to Put Words on the Heartbreak