December 21, 2018

Christmas Countdown ... by Jocelyn Faire

So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. (Ps 90:12 NASB)

Only five days and we can breathe a sigh of relief. Christmas will be done for another year ... 
but, that is not how I want it to be. I'm not ready to move into January. I long for magical moments still to happen. How was I to know that the Christmas season would usher in unwanted emotional challenges? My husband of two years came with his own December angst. When we married in December 2016, we had enough excitement over new beginnings that the ghost of Christmases past was subdued. Harold and I both have a significant grief history, sadness mixes with the joy of seasonal celebrations. I had already learned to navigate my own Christmas with Spirited intention. My present quest is to bring spiritual depth into our combined celebrations.

First, I asked my daughters-in-law to let me know about grand-kid Christmas programs ... we wanted to attend. This past Sunday, we donned our gay apparel for 9am. (Unaware that it was ugly Christmas-sweater Sunday) We arrived with two non-performer granddaughters as the singing began. I shepherded the girls through the giant foyer of food options, sign in options with large overhead screens playing. I thought I was in the food court of the city shopping mall. As we entered the amphitheater... I realized I should have brought binoculars. We would never spot one tiny Brynn and her sister Taya on that massive stage of singers. Maybe it was the fog machine that blurred our vision, but the jumbotron came to came to the rescue as the cameras panned over the exuberant angel choir.

As I pondered how to keep the message of the shepherds and angels relevant, I realized my best preparation was to ready my heart with quiet moments, so that when chaos and madness erupted, I would have calm and grace to respond. Cease striving/Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

This morning after what I hoped was the final grocery shop, I planned for a personal God and me coffee break at the park. McDonald's coffee and muffin to the rescue. My own words to my daughter, when she was busy with three young children, came to me: sometimes you're in the drive-through blessing moments of life, you have to pick up encouragement on the run. So as I got to the drive through, I pressed the knob to roll down the window and nothing, I tried again, still nothing. It had frozen shut in last evening's rain. I had to open my door to order, pay and pick up. I laughed at the lesson: a window opened just a slit was not big enough for the size of Grace ... I needed the doors wide open. God set the lighter tone. Those twenty minutes with God and coffee were wonderful and had me smiling on the inside and out. The
snow began to fall, and I noticed tiny perfectly formed flakes land on my windshield. (pictured on the right) Incredibly delicate beauty right before my eyes. Another lesson: when the stress rises, recognize the tiny bits of grace that also arrive.

And that grace was put to the test immediately. I arrived home with groceries. Harold went to put items in the freezer, and I heard a soft thud and a groan from downstairs. Are you ok? I called racing down, and there he was moaning, on his knees. Thoughts of a heart issue had been immediate, but I was relieved it was just his back. Although, I know this can debilitate him for up to a week, (just in time for Christmas to be finished).

So teach me to number my days that I may present to you a heart of wisdom and gatherings of grace. I know the gifts don't wrap themselves, nor do ingredients form themselves into a meal, nor do back spasmed husbands help much. But with God's help, I can be calm and grace-filled, and we will all have a more wonderful Christmas. 

And my gift to you is this reading from one of my favorite inspirational books: The One Year book of Bible Promises by Ruth Harms Calkin

Lord, I asked you for abundant life
And You said Yes.
I asked you for an undisturbable joy
Independent of transitory change
And You said Yes.
I asked you to thread my tears into a song
When I was shattered and torn with grief
And You said Yes.
I asked you to steady me when I staggered—
To hold me when I struggled
To seize me when I resisted
And You said Yes ...
I asked you to be my Helper, my Friend
My Light in the darkness,
I asked you to guide me all my life
With Your wisdom, Your counsel
Your captivating Love
And You said Yes ...
You overwhelm me with joy
For you love to say Yes! 

He came into a broken world 2000 years ago ... He still comes to broken hearts today.

Blessings as you walk with He who loves to say Yes, into 2019

PS-I'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions on how to make  the story meaningful for kids, thanks.


  1. I enjoyed this post very much, Jocelyn. I especially liked the 'drive through' metaphor and the story about the window not rolling down!

    1. thank-you Tracy, I do appreciate the life lessons we get in the ordinary moments.

  2. Lovely post, Jocelyn. “ . . . a window opened just a slit was not big enough for the size of Grace I needed. . .” And what a blessing that the grace given us is boundless and immeasurable and no frozen window, or anything else, can keep it from us.

    1. Thank you Linda, it is wonderful to experience the boundless immeasurable grace of our God.

  3. Lovely post! Liked the 'drive through' imagery and the line “ . . . a window opened just a slit was not big enough for the size of Grace I needed. . .”

    Thank you also for the lovely gift of the poem you shared by Ruth Harms Calkin.

    Wishing you a very Happy Christmas, Jocelyn.

  4. Thank you Brenda, may you experience marvelous grace this Christmas. And R.H. Calkin book has been a long time favorite. Merry Christmas to you as well.

  5. Such a lovely post, Jocelyn. Thank you for sharing the Ruth Harms Calkin quote, and I loved “a window opened just a slit was not big enough for the size of Grace I needed”.

  6. Thanks Joylene, & may your Christmas grace flood in through the doors :)

  7. Your opening verse, Jocelyn. I hadn't read this in the NASB translation--"that we may present to you a heart of wisdom." I like that and I also appreciate your added-on ending to that: ". . . and adding of graces." Yes, I can always use God's help to "be calm and grace-filled." And, "Another lesson: when the stress rises, recognize the tiny bits of grace that also arrive." That helps too

    I needed all your little hints at how to become "grace-filled." May you and your husband have a grace-filled, loving, wonderful Christmas with your family(yes).

  8. Thank you Sharon, and may you too recognize and experience many (some tiny bits of) grace-filled moments. I too appreciate the way NASB asks us to number our days that we may present ... our hearts of wisdom. Just a bit different meaning. Christmas blessings to you and your household.


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