Grateful For An Outstretched Hand


I don’t know if anyone noticed, but last Monday I didn’t post a gratitude journal.  And this time, the reason really was that I couldn’t come up with things to be thankful for.  In fact, I didn’t even open a blog page to try.  I couldn’t bear to think about it.  The remembrance that I should be grateful niggled at the edges of my brain, but I shoved it back into a dusty corner. 

Does anyone else get Christmas blues, or am I the only one?

Okay, deep down inside I knew that I had a lot to give thanks for, but somehow those blues overpowered everything.  I woke up miserable, feeling like a failure, and completely overwhelmed by a to-do list that seemed endless and impossible.  I was on the verge of tears all day.  I have always felt that “other people” manage to juggle a lot more things in their lives than I do, and sometimes the knowledge of my shortcomings just reaches out its snaky fingers and drags me down into the ooze. 

The real problem is that I find Christmas to be a very difficult time.  There is so much to do, and they’re all good things that I want to do, but.    I start feeling like a machine that has overheated and all it can do is flash warning lights and -.beep.beep.beep.-   My brain begins to shut down.  There is just too much for me to process.  Some people seem to be energized by all the hustle-bustle and the lights and the shopping and cookie baking, but not me.  Instead of working harder and faster and better under pressure, like Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel, I am more like a PC with too many windows open.  I get slower and slower, and eventually I freeze up. 

Well, this year my Christmas freeze began last Monday.  I continually ran the list of things-to-do through my brain, and calculated that there was no possible way to accomplish them all.  I cursed myself repeatedly for yet again waiting too late to start Christmas preparations.  I bemoaned the fact that I hate to shop, and no matter how much I love a person, I still am pitifully poor at selecting gifts.  I thought of all the things I’d like to do, but know there will never be time for. 

And I wallowed in my misery.  Then I managed to pull a muscle in my back Thursday.  Why does it seem that mental anguish needs some physical pain to accompany it?  Maybe the shock of REAL pain (as opposed to imagined pain?) helps me to gain perspective?  I don’t know.  But I do know that toward the end of the week things shaped up a bit.  And all the truly vital things got done, even though my back hurt. 

This morning as I was thinking over the last week, I realized that I had taken my eyes off my Messiah.  He’s supposed to be saving me out of this muddled morass of myopia.  But did I reach to grasp His outstretched hand?  Nope.  I just kept staring down at the whirlpool eddying below me, and I didn’t even look up to see Him standing there.  It’s a cruel irony that it is the celebration of His birth that is causing me such stress and frustration.  Why is it that the trappings of joyous celebration are the things that cause me to stumble and fall?

The weekend, though, was uplifting, and I am back.  God is good.  And the hand of my Jesus is still reaching out to me.  


Gifts that make my life worth living,
gifts that make my moments holy.
Not gifts that I wish for,
but gifts that I have received.
Gifts that bring me back
into Joy and Gratitude.


a Savior who still loves me, even when I forget to look to Him
trudging through the snow caroling
lighted Christmas trees
cups of chili to warm us later
a little girl with startlingly blue eyes
the smell and taste of wassail simmering
a houseful of people we love
pictures of New Zealand, where it is spring!
Amy’s delighted laugh
finishing my Christmas shopping, where you can find pretty much anything
free shipping
hand-dipped truffles
the joy of a newly-engaged couple
an olivewood Nativity set from Bethlehem
a finished set of house plans
my kids, who cleaned my house this week
and did laundry
my husband, who loves me even when I am acting unloveable

and many wonderful friends who, once again, will probably not get Christmas greetings from me
because of my Christmas brain freeze/pity party,
but who I hope realize that I really do love them anyway.



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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4 Responses to Grateful For An Outstretched Hand

  1. ElizabethDNB says:

    I think you are very wise to recognize so much about your self.  I often feel those types of things without recoginizing that that is what’s going on, and end up in melt down mode.  I was actually praying today that I will be more self aware when I am getting stressed out and overwhlemed.Thank you for your words, and happy Christmas.

  2. fwren says:

    I hear ya, dear sister, I hear ya so well!!!!I  Christmas is about the most stressful time ever for me ~ and I hate it that it is that way.  “Muddled morass of myopia” pretty much says it all.  But I feel better today too ~ things are looking up and the dust is flying around here.  I actually think I might be starting to get excited about Christmas!  Heard an excellent sermon yesterday about Christmas being about Christ being born ~ in our hearts ~ every day.  And I wonder ~ did that just happen all over again for me today?  I pray so and I also pray it continues.  Lift up my head, dear Lord ~ set my gaze eternally on You! 

  3. quilt_cats says:

    I somehow always end up feeling like that.  The Christmas Blues strike me, know matter how hard I try to keep it from happening.  Somewhere along the way I start focusing on the gift lists, the cooking agendas, and all the stuff I “have” to do to make Christmas better for my family… the one thing that actually makes Christmas better is to take our eyes from our own problems, sadness, and wants and put them onto our Lord in a spirit of humility and faith.   May you have a beautiful Christmas filled with His love!

  4. BooksForMe says:

    The Lord showed me the very same thing the week of Thanksgiving—not that I don’t need reminders.  Had a breakdown of my own last week.  Oy vey! God is so good, though, to stay with us until we get through.

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