Hope for the Holidays
Hope for the Holidays
by: Jolinda Quiroz
As I walk around Hobby Lobby, I immediately realize the holidays are right around the corner. The store has aisles and aisles of sparkling Christmas décor meticulously displayed for your shopping ease. I am nowhere near prepared for the holidays, but then again, very few are. The holidays tend to have a reputation for causing added stress and heartache; especially if you have found yourself in the middle of a deployment like my family has on more than one occasion. I often find myself battling loneliness and depression even more so during these times.
During our first deployment I remember toying with the idea of not celebrating at all and just waiting until my husband came home to open gifts and have Christmas dinner. He wouldn’t hear of it. He knew we missed him terribly but he wanted us to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas. “Jesus is the reason for the season” is the cliché I have used for many, many years; yet, how quickly I allow my emotions to mentally block that simple phrase of truth. I allowed myself to focus on what my family didn’t have and was completely missing the blessings we did have. The blessing that I was home with my children, family, and loving church family. My husband was far away but safe and doing well physically, mentally, and spiritually. My children had more than they needed while other children wouldn’t even celebrate Christmas because their parents were struggling to find work. It became so easy for me to get caught up in my cup being half empty instead of realizing that I was blessed and had the ability to lift up my husband, my family, and others in prayer to our Father. Psalm 16 tells me that God makes the path of life known to me. In His presence there is fullness of joy. God wants me to experience His joy because He knows I need it. He sees everything that I go through. It does not mean that I will operate like a robot and ignore what I am feeling. It simply means that I shouldn’t focus on the hurt and longing, but I should lift my eyes to my helper. Psalm 121 says, ”the Lord will watch over my life, my present and my future” and the same applies to you.
I am so thankful for the years that my family spends together but I am even more grateful for God’s grace during those times when we are apart. God has seen me through it before and I know that He is faithful to do it again. He loves me too much to leave me in a state of loneliness. He reminds me daily through His Word of His great plans and promises for my family. As a woman, as a mother, and as the wife of a soldier, I have to make a conscious decision to allow the joy of the Lord to be my strength.