Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013, a Day Late and a Dollar Short as my Mama would say:)

As usual I am a day late and a dollar short:)
Is that the sound of reindeer hooves or is it Presley and Willow pitter-pattering around while I am trying to have my quiet time? As usual I am running way behind, so for those that I didn't get a Christmas letter sent to, here it is:
Happy, Happy, Happy!
Ho, Ho, Ho! It’s Christmas, Either Way
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
Happy, happy, happy! I have to say I agree with those words from the Duck Dynasty clan and it sounds just as good as “Ho, ho, ho” for the season we are in right now. Happy is what I want our Christmas to be all about, but sometimes life just gets in the way of that. Sometimes, we want to be more of a part of someone’s life, but life gets in the way. We overlooked something, forgot a special date, and got too busy, life gets in the way. Christmas season gets hectic and we get behind with all those good plans we had and find ourselves at the point of the “tyranny of the urgent.” *
Christmas events heighten the urgency and our dreams of making it the perfect family holiday may bring more stress than happiness. We ruminate what we need to do, want to do, have to do and the tension that shows up in our physical bodies makes it hard to slow down and have the peace that Jesus is known for. Perhaps this is the first year that you are experiencing the pain and grief of losing a loved one and you are finding it hard to even smile this Christmas.  We are, in my family, and navigating a new kind of normal is not easy. We pray especially for those who have lost spouses or children. We are grateful for the memories that help us to bear the loss.
We look forward to the time in heaven when we will all be together, again. Memories of good times help us to smile as we remember the love we were privileged to share with them while they were here on this earth. I’m so proud of my mother-in-law, Edie, who is coping with loss and yet doing it with a smile on her face. I think giving someone a smile can sometimes be a sacrifice and the Bible says to give a sacrifice of praise as an offering. To do that when your heart is breaking is a beautiful and precious thing before the Lord. A smile can lift the spirits of those around us and sometimes we smile amidst tears. They may stream down as we think about the way we wish that things were, yet no one can steal that joy that abides because of Jesus and His presence in our hearts.   Happy, Happy, Happy! Or Ho, Ho, Ho! It’s Christmas, either way and I pray a great big blessing for your day.  Donna Collins Tinsley 2013
"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 NLT
*A booklet by Charles Hummel, Tyranny of the Urgent, describes that there is always tension between what we believe is important and what is right before us that seems urgent. My opinion is that usually the urgent wins, especially around the holidays.
Navigating Christmas this year is hard with the loss of Grandpa Del Ce Cato. Many prayers are needed for Mom Del as they were married over 50 years. He was a very precious man and is sorely missed. I also ask for continued prayers for family peace. A day at a time, progress not perfection, keep it simple (I'm not sure how when I don't know how many I am cooking for?:) and "Let go and let God." He is the reason we celebrate!
First Christmas In Heaven

I wrote this poem the year my Mama passed away. It is a very simple poem, but it comforted me. The first holidays without your loved ones can be the hardest. It seems so many people near to me, have lost a family member. I pray that you will be able to have peace and blessings although there is that empty place at the table that could only be filled by them.


First Christmas In Heaven


It’s my first

Christmas in Heaven

And oh,

What a sight!


The angels are singing

This is not a silent night!


On the throne sits

The One who

Died for me

From the Pain

Of my body

I have been

Set free.


He’s not a babe

In a manger


He loves you

He wants you

For your soul

He will war.


This life you live now

Is fleeting

At best

I trusted

In Jesus and

He gave me rest.



Donna Collins Tinsley 


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