Dare to Hope

I love Christmas. Really, I do.

pink poinsettias

it’s beginning to look a lot like…

I love that our culture still reserves a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But the churning of the holiday season is a mixed bag for me, and I’m not the only one.

After I published the bah-humbug-ish post Saving Duck this past Tuesday, my best friend, my closest cousin, and my brother all contacted me within a three-hour period. These people are more dear than I deserve, so their concern could be a coincidence. Just in case, I thought I better clarify.

First, I’m okay. You’re okay. God willing, we’ll all make it through.

Second, this is not a retraction of my thoughts from my last post. The unrealistic expectations of a perfect Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s are destructive. They steal our joie de vivre and drain our bank accounts. We question our faith and our sanity.

Now I know there are a few of you who would prefer I only write about shiny, happy things. I appreciate that, and I wish I could meet your demands.

But I can’t.

It’s not my intention to be a negative Nelly. I do write about fun stuff as well from misread song lyrics to missing underwire, from discontinued lipstick to dismissed hair accessories. But to me, it wouldn’t be honest or helpful to present as if everything is sunshine and roses (or pink poinsettias) when it’s not.

Yesterday I hung out with some Christian girlfriends. One caught my attention when she said, “I don’t really like this season. I mean I like Christmas, I just don’t care for all that goes with it.”

Her courage struck a chord. One by one, every woman recounted personal stories of how painful the holidays can be. My December dread didn’t seem so abnormal after all.

The wisest of all the women shared a story from when her kids were younger. She and her husband piled their little ones in the car and drove across three states to visit a relative for Thanksgiving. The trip wasn’t a surprise visit; the relative knew they were coming. Imagine their shock to arrive just in time to stand in the driveway and wave good-bye.  Grandma had made other plans to go out with friends for Thanksgiving dinner instead.

chocolate turkeys

don’t be a turkey

“We laugh about it now,” said my friend. “We joke and say, ‘Remember when Grandma left us on Thanksgiving?’ But at the time, it wasn’t funny.”

This is in part why we need other people in our lives. It’s why we need to tell each other the truth. It’s why some of us write and read and comment. How good to know we’re not alone. Others have walked this road or on it with us now. Many have survived. Maybe we will, too.

Walk on, pilgrims. Walk on.

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease. Lamentations 3:21-22 NLT

He Walked a Mile by Clay Crosse. An oldie but a goodie.

Do you still dare to hope? Tell me more.

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5 Comments

Filed under blogging, family & friends, life, women's studies

5 Responses to Dare to Hope

  1. Aimee,

    I strive above all to continue to always have hope. It is a cornerstone of my faith and my sanity! I prefer to think of Advent as a time of pensiveness and reflection, and strive to focus on this rather than the rat race that society has created.

    It is also a time of thankfulness and I make a point of “counting my blessings” in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We make a lot of the Christmas gifts that we give to others—photo books, personal calendars etc. with pictures that our family takes over the year. I love going through all of the pictures and reminiscing over the past 12 months. That goes a long way in helping me to focus on the things that are most important in my life–my faith, my family, my farm.

    I think that it is easier for me to do this because of where I live. We are a rural community so there is not a daily “holiday frenzy”, and there is more of a focus on helping one another. That is one of my favorite things about living in rural Nebraska—it is so different than where I grew up (urban South Florida) and I treasure it.

    Keep the faith, my friend. Always have hope, and remember the love that is a traditional trademark of the Christmas season.

    All the best,
    Anne

    • Aimee

      Thank you, Anne! Same to you. Focusing on the things that are most important in your life has a way of slowing down the frenzy and quieting the spirit. It also requires strength in setting boundaries and making choices about what you will and will not allow.

  2. Interestingly, I didn’t read that post as a defeated post or even a dark post. (maybe I should go back and re-read it…?) I read it as an authentic and worthy perspective that truly reflects every single heart at some point either during the holidays or elsewhere. I love that you speak truth. And I love that in that truth, you gift us with inspiration. :)

  3. Okay, so I’m back! I had to come back because I took another look at that post and have to add ONE more thing!! lol You are a gifted writer with your amazing word imagery and sincere messages. That post ROCKED!! It was representing almost every single Christian woman out there!! And this is why you need to always be true and genuine like you are. I think it might be the best piece I have read in a LONG time from any blogger… seriously.

    • Aimee

      You are too kind, Chris. When I write posts that aren’t all warm and fuzzy, I know some readers will cringe. But I also know in my heart I can’t be the only one feeling this way. That’s not saying everyone feels the same way I do, but I know if I’m struggling, there are other people who are struggling too. It helps me to remember I’m not unique in my weaknesses: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face… (from 1 Corinthians 10:13)” Maybe admitting it will encourage others. That’s kind of how this whole blog began. See Maiden Flight: http://everydayepistle.com/2011/02/12/maiden-flight/