Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas In My Heart Comes to Life Part I

This weekend has been quite exhausting, yet I did want to continue my tradition of writing in the evenings even after a long Holiday weekend.

Wrapping up National Adoption Awareness Month

While we still have two more days in the month of November, I was looking at the calendar and the activities listed for the remaining two days and both activities are a great pre-cursor to my next topic, so will honor the last couple of days in this post. The activities included to keep in our thoughts those families with adoptions pending from foster care and also to donate and give this Christmas to the children still in waiting mode.

Pending adoptions or basically being in a pre-adoptive home, but not finalized is a very emotional place to be in. Children still aren’t “yours” and the older a child is, I’m assuming they also know that anything could “go wrong” and some children outright expect things to go wrong. Parents of children that “should” end up in their home forever are often agonizing and wondering when all the paperwork, visits, and anxiousness will finally be over. Children may end up feeling these emotions from the parents and sometimes act out, some are fearful, some are grieving and rejoicing and it’s just a very hard time to be in. I applaud families that stay strong after years of dealing with a particular case at times. I was really having to pray and give it up to God and the process was ‘only’ 11 months from placement to finalization, so for these families, please pause a moment and send up prayers for peace and the knowledge that they are where they need to be at this time even if this time is a time of intense emotion.

Holiday time must be very hard on waiting children. The only child I have to gauge this by is through a student of mine who currently is in foster care and will probably be there through the Christmas holidays. I know she hopes she will see family, however, I know she is sad that she won’t be spending it with her mother. I can only imagine what it feels like for a foster child that isn’t reunifying anytime soon or at all and is considered a waiting child for a new family. If you can budget some money, I urge you to work with your state or county’s social services and find a child that your family can give a present to. It does NOT cure the pain of this child by a long shot, however, in this season where hope is most alive, it may just give a child some glimmer of hope and/or happiness that otherwise may not have been there.

“Christmas In My Heart” comes to life Part I

This last half of my post will be part of a 3-part post on Christmas and how much this time of the year means to me….and hopefully through my amateur writing, some bit of magic of the season can come to life where you live and with your family.

Christmas In My Heart* is actually a book series that is in it’s 19th year of publication. That means that the first book came out when I was 13 years old. Christmas has never been the same since! Author Joe Wheeler* compiled some short Christmas stories and put them together in a book….maybe about 10 or 12 short stories in the first book. My mother is one that believed that parents should read to their children and even though I was 13 and not interested, my mother took the time to read me a story…actually I take that back, read to my father and I a story each night. Something about these stories just touched my heart in a way that nothing could. They were happy, they were sad, they were about children rich and poor, they were about the little things that made Christmas magical and about the little things that made Christmas reverent, almost as if you could reach up and touch God in the face. Every year since then, the mad dash in late November to the Adventist Bookstore (A Christian Bookstore) to check and see that another book had been published with yet a different collection of stories. These books made our family close…even in my late teenage years where I’d rather be anywhere but with family, I would make an exception to either stay home and read them myself alongside my mother or to hear my mother read (even if I appeared to be indifferent).

Of course these books always have a tender story about a child finding a home for Christmas or reuniting with a loved one…those are always the best. Of course a cynic can say “oh well, that’s a fairy tale” or a realist could say “adoption is never that easy” or “I’m sure the parents then had to deal with attachment issues”. My answer would be ‘of course nothing is ALWAYS happily ever after’ and of course ‘adoption is never that simple’ however, this is Christmas. Something about Christmas just makes it ok and fine to have hope and look at things through the magic and wonderment of the good in this world. Even if that hope, that glimmer of hope lasted for A DAY, it would have been worth it. If you are a believer, you know that this is the season where you can feel God the closest, if you’re not a believer but celebrate Christmas anyways, St. Nicholas aka Santa Claus is a tribute to kindness and to ‘do good unto others in time of need’. I can’t explain it, but the wonderment, the magic, the hopefulness, the kind, and good rise to the top. Why not celebrate this.

Of course people in my real life circle know that I believe in Jesus and celebrate this through a Christian lens, however, some are also puzzled at my announcements that I believe in Santa Claus. I mean really a Christian doesn’t believe in Santa Claus do they? I say why not? Santa Claus is kindness. While yes Santa is not necessarily the same as the St. Nicholas’ that began this tale and tradition, I urge you to look past the commercialism, look past the hubbub and flurry of it all, peel the layers back and look at what transpires. Giving. Simple. As. That. And giving is a good thing, no a great thing. As long as there is kindness in the world there is a God and there is a Santa Claus! Think beyond telling children that Santa Claus brings them gifts, I’m all for telling kids the truth that parents are the ones that buy them the Christmas gifts, but I also believe in hope and dreaming and making kids believe that Santa confers with parents.

Feeling in the spirit of Christmas yet? I hope so. As I said this is the first in a three part posting. Part II will be my own real life short story of Christmas In My Heart (hint: remember Tigger came to me in December before Christmas) and Part III will be about traditions and how to really make Christmas special in your family. I also hope that in part III you will leave a comment about the ways your family celebrates Christmas or what traditions you hope to incorporate into Christmas.

No bah humbugs here. I fully embrace the season and I hope that in your heart you do too. If you are one of those that didn’t grow up with Christmas tradition, was taught that celebrating it was wrong, or think that it is so much about commercialism that you don’t feel like partaking, I hope that you’ll come back to my blog and at least consider the possibilities.

With Christmas cheer,

DannieA and Tigger
*Christmas In My Heart books 1-19 can be purchased at amazon if your curiosity was at all peaked. 


Ticia said...

My curiosity is peaked.

Maybe next year, more because I'm already thinking of all the things we're trying new this year.

Happy walker said...

blog walking and visiting here... have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...