I set out at the end of November with clenched teeth, and a face set towards my destination
I was determined.
I was going to find it, no matter what.
It would be easy, after all I love this time of year.
But decoration after decoration
Christmas card after Christmas card
Ornament after ornament
Nativity scene after nativity scene
Light after light
Seemed to make no difference.
I was in search of joy.
But candle after candle still left me floundering in the darkness.
Tears sprang to my eyes as I told one of my dearest friends,
"I'm looking for joy. But I can't find it in any of the usual places."
She held me close and said
Maybe I just need to go with the flow.
Stop trying so hard.
Let God surprise you.
So I did.
And He has.
I'm not rolling in the aisles but I have found blessings.
In the two nights in the row where we've sat as a family
and laughed and sang as we watched Christmas films.
In the Carol Service at the church we left in 1991 to enter full-time ministry.
In a strange way it felt like we'd gone home.
In the Garden of Lights at a local National Trust Property.
And afterwards, giggling in McDonald's with my friend,her daughter, and my son
over nothing in particular.
In friends who have dropped in unannounced because they've missed us around the place.
In a lovely dinner of Roast Lamb with rosemary that my sons pronounced to be 'banging'
(That means good....)
And finally in a verse of scripture that I've read a hundred times but never really seen.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God’s Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness,
Those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way,
one foot at a time,
down the path of peace