Merry Christmas !!
Religious holidays are not just a time of joyful celebration but also a time of tension! The holy family knew it, we know it. We put alot of effort into holiday planning & festivities but many times don’t feel appreciated or we simply feel empty. We don’t know why we repeat hallow rituals.
Five years ago yesterday I was in a courtroom in Portland, OR. attending the Bail Hearing of the main defendant in my son Marc’s murder case. I never dreamed I’d be doing anything like that at Christmas! Never crossed my mind in a million years!
But God said, ‘Surprise, Diane, you traveled 1,000 miles for this & are very tired, but I’m giving you the gift of an honest case. And the defendant won’t be allowed to walk free. I loved Marc so much that I’m continuing to give him justice, just so you know I’ve been with you all along!’
Little did I understand that every Christmas hereafter I’d be going thru a similar exchange of gifts. Not a request for justice like the Xmas 5 years ago, but the ‘gifts’ of deep PTSD & survivors guilt that are my odd new holiday gifts! And the more that knife of survivors guilt goes in me, the more angry & strong I feel. You learn to fight back, you have no where else to go. Defeat is not an option.
That transformation never leaves me. I can’t tell you how much richer my life is now that I know God will go with me everywhere I need to go in my quest for what is truly just. These gifts have also helped loose me from the grip of keeping phony traditions alive during Christmas and other holidays.
In Mark 7:6-7 Jesus speaks to the Pharisees:
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments (traditions) of men.”
What a way to live! Knowing God cares about the infinite details of my life so I can go on in joy. I’ve told Him a number of times, ‘Gee, God, what a crazy life you’ve given me! You constantly break down the ‘old’ Diane, (with all her assumptions), and give me new opportunities and people!’ It’s been especially helpful to have this strength as I’m struggling to be a solid voice in our country in the face of huge opposition and ignorance from many close to me or far.
God definitely is in our religious holidays, active in this world. I’m so glad I got re-directed and shown a new path, there could have been a totally different outcome if I’d have clung to fear or depression.