Finding Joy in Christmas- When Everything 'Feels' Wrong

Written by Ellen M. DuBois

The year 2001 proved to be a life altering one. Barring our own personal problems which already may have had you in a state of despair,repparttar attack on America leftrepparttar 127059 nation-repparttar 127060 world- in a state of sadness, disbelief and hopelessness.

As we are surrounded byrepparttar 127061 sites and sounds of Christmas, many of us show a bittersweet smile while gazing at lovely Christmas lights or hearing a children's choir. We feel guilty for feeling happy when we are surrounded by so much tragedy and reflect upon a world that 'once was'.

It feels likerepparttar 127062 Christmas spirit has been knocked out of our sails and we are drifting aimlessly upon a sea of tears.

Yes, it's been one heck of a year. The loss we have sustained is incomprehensible. Combined with our individual problems; we're left wondering how to get through Christmas with joy in our hearts. Where isrepparttar 127063 room for joy when our hearts are filled torepparttar 127064 brim with sorrow?

My eyes mist when I think ofrepparttar 127065 lives lost andrepparttar 127066 families who must be struggling to shop for their remaining family members. What angst they must be experiencing. Those of us who didn't lose anyone feel for them- but, also feel helpless. How can we take away their pain? How can we make it easier for them to get throughrepparttar 127067 season? That weighs heavily on many of us and contributes further to our attempts of feeling joy during a season that's supposed to be joyous.

I've reflected a lot on this because of my own feelings of confusion and despair this Christmas. I've battled with guilt and sorrow. I've wondered if I should even bother decorating for Christmas when there are so many out there caught inrepparttar 127068 web of grief. My heart bleeds for them.

I ask myself, "What right do I have to be happy?"

I've come torepparttar 127069 conclusion that it's okay, even necessary to experiencerepparttar 127070 joy and hope of Christmas this year. If we take our focus away fromrepparttar 127071 gifts and decorations and point it towards what Christmas really is- we will find comfort, solace, peace and joy. For Christmas is Christ and Christ is eternal love, hope, life, joy and peace. Isn't that what we need right now- more than ever?

By focusing on Christ-repparttar 127072 very reason this holiday exists- our burdens become lighter

Lord, I Never Asked to Be a Cracked Cup

Written by Pam Wickenhauser

Lord I never asked to be a cracked cup.

We have all admired teacups,repparttar fine china luster,repparttar 127058 artistry, and

their intricate designs. Have you

ever thought about what happens torepparttar 127059 one's that are

not quite so perfect?

I know a favorite of mine has a crack onrepparttar 127060 inside corner. Most the

crack is hidden fromrepparttar 127061 eyes, unless

someone was looking for it. It's rose design, a little

faded fromrepparttar 127062 years of service. If it were to be bought or sold for

antique value, it wouldn't bringmuch because of its imperfection. Yet,

the memories of secrets shared over tea with this cup are priceless.

This simple cup, flawed as it may be, has a message

uniquely its own. Beauty is not dependent on what the

eye can see; it's a matter ofrepparttar 127063 heart. What is

stored in a treasure inrepparttar 127064 cupboard ofrepparttar 127065 heart can never be bought or

sold for any price.

I went to a doctor one time that told me I was not whole. Infact, I was

broken. I had to learn to live with missing parts that could never be

added. When God created me, he left outrepparttar 127066 most important part of my

reproductive system, my ovaries. I remember how I felt

that day. Is there no hope for a normal life I would

ask myself? I would cry. No one will ever understand

my pain. My cracks were secret, hidden deep inside,

except forrepparttar 127067 keloid scar on my neck. A cracked

teacup that best describes what I am.

I began to rememberrepparttar 127068 lesson ofrepparttar 127069 teacup. God I said, "I never asked

to be a cracked cup. Please tell me why?" I never thought that taking

care of a diseased thyroid would result in such an ugly scar. Even after

three plastic surgeries. I wondered would

any man ever love me,repparttar 127070 imperfect vessel that I am?

"Ok God, I am a cracked cup now what?"

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use