Some Christmas hope and cheer

IMG_3296I’m going to be transparent here. This blog is about enjoying life and it is about being real. I don’t ever want to paint a picture that makes my life seem perfect or that I have it all together.

Because, I don’t. No one does. We’re all just trying to figure life out and how to live the best way we can. Right?

Sooo…

Checkered Bow

One of the interesting things that has transpired since we moved to the North East is that holidays aren’t the same. In years gone by Thanksgiving and Christmas were full to the brim with family.

My parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins OR Brance’s dad and siblings and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. We liked to take turns.

And now, there are many holidays where it is just us. Brance, myself, and the girls.

christmas_boston

Brance’s dad passed away almost 5 years to the day (his mother died a couple of years before we even met). All but one of our grandparents are now deceased.

And the rest of our family, immediate and extended, lives very far away. 18 plus hours. All of them.

So, we manage a visit when we can, but that doesn’t always happen during the holidays. Most of the time it doesn’t.

starfish_wreathWe have spent almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas the last 4 1/2 years in our little Boston neighborhood–just the 4 of us. Which is cozy and sweet and we’re making fun little family traditions together.

But, it’s a little lonely too.

Especially when the majority of the people who live in our neighborhood leave to be with family for the holidays. And our bustling streets and sidewalks are nearly empty. It begins to feel a bit like a ghost town.

LightsIt reminds me that the rest of our loved ones are far away from us.

But it reminds me of something else. Something much harder.

It reminds me of all the people out there who are completely alone. Who, truly, have no one to share a Christmas meal with. Or are stationed far away from their country and friends and loved ones this holiday season.

IMG_3294Or perhaps they are celebrating their first Christmas without someone they deeply love and care about. Or are facing cancer, or divorce, or some other terrible trial.

The holidays can be difficult to face when life isn’t going as planned.

If that is you, or someone you know, I offer this prayer.

May you sense that your life truly matters this Christmas and always–regardless of your circumstances. Knowing that trials can be a gift that help you grow in strength and compassion.

May you find joy in offering your life in service to God and others. Because this is where purest joy exists. And this is where true healing transpires. 

May you know the warmth and comfort that comes from faith that all things happen for a reason. Even those incredibly difficult things in life.

And may you experience lasting peace as you surrender your life in gratitude to a purpose higher than your own. Because real peace only comes with acceptance.

With love this holiday season and always,

Lauren

p.s. Boston is a beautiful city, especially over the holidays. The pics above were some of my favorite sights last year. People go all out with beautiful greenery and Christmas decor. It’s just lovely to see. I’m looking forward to a Christmas stroll this week to see all of the lights downtown (one of the many things I can be thankful for).

p.p.s. I should add that some sweet, dear friends have invited us to celebrate Christmas with them :).