Christmas Eve

I didn’t know what it was going to be like….Christmas Eve and Christmas Day not spent the way I’ve spent it for the last 26 years. Would it even feel like Christmas to not go to a Christmas Eve service, be at my parents’ house, eat corn beef buns, read the account of Jesus birth from the Bible, spend time opening presents from my family….could it still feel like Christmas without it being a typical Christmas?

I’ve been nervous about it since Lindsey and I planned our holiday. But, I was also excited…excited to share it all with Lindsey, excited to find a way to enjoy both families together….excited to try something new…excited to begin to create our own traditions.

We left our apartment yesterday morning at 4:45 in the morning. Our friend, Emily, drove us to the airport and somehow we fit 4 suitcases, one guitar, all of Bo’s stuff and Bo, plus the 3 of us girls in Emily’s little corrola. It was comical, and I was nervous and sleepy. You know all the attention the airport screening process has gotten in the media lately? I’ve been paying attention, and my already anxious mind didn’t waste any time obsessing about everything that could go wrong. In fact, last week I got down on the floor to play with my little charge’s big sister and discovered a reminder of what I’d soon be facing at the airport in the most unexpected place…

I sat down thinking we were going to play “airport”, pretending the planes were taking off and landing and the passengers were sitting at the terminal. Until I looked a little closer…

Ouch. I was like, really? Why do they have to put the guy with his arms up going through security in the kids play book? That’s like the worst part of going to the airport! (I just had to take a picture of the proof of  the constant reminders of my inability to escape my fear of going through security!) Yes, it’s an irrational fear, but who wants to feel like a criminal just because they want to travel somewhere? I surely don’t, and the thought of even more security measures made me feel like flying anywhere was the last mode of travel I’d like to use.

So as Lindsey and I entered the airport I felt only dread about the long lines, grumpy people, and the coming feeling that I was doing something wrong by trying to get on a plane. It seemed like it took forever, but we finally made it to the point where I stood and removed my shoes, jacket, sweater, cell phone, and took the laptop out of my backpack. I told myself that I had to get to Georgia, so I had to go through security too…

A bit extreme, huh? Well, I’ve always dealt with a super high level of anxiety. Most people don’t know what I go through every day. I quietly deal with my severe anxiety and Lindsey and I battle through the difficulties of it daily. I don’t usually talk about it to anyone but my closest friends because most people have a way of judging things, anything, that might be seen as a weakness or as different and using it as an excuse to discount others or to look down on them. But I’ve been thinking lately about how brave it really is to be different, to own one’s differences and imperfections, and to keep moving forward with joy and purpose. Do you know how rare this bravery is compared to the number of people in the world? Yet we all admire it when we see it showcased for what it really is. Consider Mary…

She was a teenager pledged to be married in the proper way, but ended up pregnant before that happened. Everyone judged her. She was experiencing something different than she knew, different than anyone around her, different than anything she could even comprehend, but she moved forward with joy and purpose. Knowing in her heart what the right thing was, knowing she had to be brave, and she was.

And they called His name, Jesus.

There are a million examples of this bravery in the Bible, in history, and even now all throughout the earth. There are millions of people too, that aren’t ready or able to embrace or pursue this kind of bravery in life. I want to be one who does pursue it, who does attempt to recognize the challenges I’ve been given to face in life and continues to pursue a life of purpose and joy anyway.

It’s Christmas Eve. I made it through security at the airport yesterday with no issues….none of my worst fears came true. I’m sitting here in Georgia enjoying this holiday, Lindsey’s family, and, of course, Lindsey herself. Yes, things are different, but I’m so thankful that I’m actually enjoying this change…finding beauty in the new, in the different. And as I think about the new year coming, I’m thinking about my deep desires to live with courage, to use my voice, and to live with vulnerability and hope.

I am so thankful that God used Mary in such a vulnerable special way to bring Jesus to earth as a baby (also special and vulnerable). I’m thankful I can enjoy such a special time spent celebrating Him and the wonderful gifts God has blessed me with. And because of that no matter where I am, how I feel, or what I do this Christmas….it still feels like christmas time to me….it still brings that magical wonderful feeling of joy to my heart.

Merry Christmas everybody. :)

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