Struggling to feel the spirit…

‘Tis the eve of Christmas Eve. And for most of today, I have not been in the” spirit” of things.  Church was nice, but it failed to bring the high of last week,  I am missing extended family, worried about several friends, sad for all those who I know are having an especially difficult season, concerned about a few personal things, harried by some silly things I have left undone ‘til the last last minute….and….there is no snow! Bleh.
I was also really tired after only a very few hours of sleep last night.  I was certain a nap would help, but when do naps ever help? Pretty much never. At least for me.
I woke up just in time to help my wonderful, selfless husband put the finishing touches on a meal for the sister missionaries who were joining us for dinner.   Instead of feeling gratitude for my nap, and for my awesome husband for holding down the fort, instead of feeling joy in the fact that I was in a warm house with my whole family, I felt agitated and irritable.   I knew that I had every possible thing I needed to feel gratitude and joy and the fact that it was eluding me made me feel even more frustrated.
Dinner was pleasant enough but I felt annoyed by the fact that the baby wouldn’t eat, irritated by the fact that we were all jammed into too small of a space (tiny at the best of times, ridiculous when the displaced furniture from the Christmas tree is stuffed in there too), worried that there wasn’t enough food, and distracted by the things I knew still needed to be done.  Mostly I just felt that free floating yucky feeling that comes from a lingering bad dream. You know that feeling? What a bummer for the eve of Christmas Eve!
At the end of the meal the sisters asked us if they could share a Christmas message. We went into the living room and read the familiar story in Luke. After which each person identified a favourite passage and what made it so.  What a simple, obvious perfect activity. One I’d never thought of! It was really amazing to hear the specific things which touched each of my kids.  Things that I’d never considered.  I felt my mood lift..indeed I felt a little less Grinch-like with every passing moment.
At the end of their visit, the missionaries encouraged us to watch the new Christmas movie on After they left we dutifully did so. It was beautiful and touching and gorgeous in every way but then we watched another short “movie” on the channel. I hope you will watch it too.
As we did, I sat with tears streaming down my cheeks because I have felt what she felt. I have felt the excruciating physically painful despair, the sense of utter loneliness.  I have felt as if I was literally in a dark, dark, abyss, with oppressive misery pressing in from every side, where I felt that the only possible relief would be to cease to exist. 
Blessedly, I have not felt the extent of that most profound and desperate misery very many times in my life, but when I have, and I have cried out for help in my most desperate moments, I have felt that help, that connection to my Saviour the most strongly. I have felt that assistance even more literally than I felt that misery.  When I thought that the sadness would destroy me, I have felt loving and reassuring arms surround me, as real and warm as any human arms but more comforting than any mortal’s embrace could possibly be.  In my darkest hours, hours which I would never wish to relive, when I have cried for help, I have felt a sense of peace permeate the despair to my core.  I know the “peace which passeth all understanding”. I know that it comes from Him. That it is possible through His Atonement, and it is why I celebrate his birth.  When I remembered that, the spirit came flooding back. The dining room is still too small, I’m still behind on the baking, worried about my friends and missing my family but I feel peace and I feel the way I know Christmas is supposed to feel.
I always say that Christmas magnifies whatever is going on in your life. If you are abundantly blessed, it highlights those those blessings, if you are struggling, it emphasizes those struggles. I know that so many of you who may read this are in pain of some kind right now and I want you to know, that you are in my prayers and my heart. You are in my family’s prayers. But mostly I want you to know that He knows your pain because He has felt it too. Not just something just like it. He has felt YOUR pain, and He suffered it for you so that you can give it to Him to bear.  I am so grateful for His sacrifice and for the knowledge that I have that He loves and adores me more than I can comprehend and that He will bear anything that I will give to Him to carry for me.  Merry Christmas to you my dear friends.  Wishing you much peace.

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michelle said...

Thank you so much for this! You may not have been feeling the spirit of Christmas that much but this post certainly brought the spirit to me! I loved the short video and must say that maybe that is why I love tiny babies so much, I can feel heavenly Father through them, I know that they have just left His side and if they could talk they would tell us all about it. Have a wonderful, merry, spirit-filled Christmas! xxx

Gracie said...

Awwww I'm sorry you weren't feeling the Christmas spirit yesterday!! I'm glad you are feeling better! Great blog post Mommy!! Merry Christmas!! I LOVE YOU!!

The Redhead Riter said...

It's been a hard year for many people to feel the spirit.

Merry Christmas!!!