Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Unexpected Gifts

Christmas was obviously different this year. Besides feeling nauseous and fatigued, I can't say that it was terrible. There was something serenely simple and freeing about Friday. I missed my family terribly, and wished that I could have woken up to the smell of my mom's fresh baked cinnamon rolls and my dad's pot of coffee. For a few weeks, the realization that I would be here for Christmas had been setting in. At the beginning of December, I received a care package from my dorm parents from when I was in boarding school in junior high. Among many fun things, they had sent me a tiny porcelain nativity scene. It was perfect. I set it up on my dresser in my bedroom here, and multiple times during my days would literally stop and look at it (and rearranged it just perfectly..... :) ) But seriously.... Having this beautiful visual of the Christmas story gave me an opportunity day after day to whisper a meek prayer to understand the celebration of the season more deeply this year than I ever have before. Those prayers didn't come easily, and were often accompanied by tears, but the rawness of those moments are not found often.

I went to a Christmas eve service held at the main building on the hospital grounds. It was awkward at many chairs, but only 13 people there. A husband and wife playing a guitar and flute as we softly sang Christmas carols. The husband then gave a short Christmas message. It was perfect. After reading the story of Jesus' birth, the "speaker husband" said, "Christmas is a series of unexpected gifts, but the message and promise of Christmas is hope." Oh my word......speechless......things were registering with me. I have heard the Christmas story more times than I can count. I believe in Jesus. But sometimes I find it extremely difficult to find any solace in a story that happened thousands of years before the time of iPhones, freeways, and Starbucks. I learned something new this year. I truly believe that because of the prayers of so many people, that God revealed to me how much he can relate and through the relation, how big his heart for me is. The entire situation surrounding Jesus' birth was not ideal. The societal disgrace, the loneliness, the lack of comfort and familiarity, the uncertainty. But the gift that came during such inadequate circumstances was unimaginable. The excitement, the new life, the hope, the freedom, the peace.

"Christmas is a series of unexpected gifts."

Being in a residential treatment center during the holidays was not exactly on my wish list this year. Having OCD is not exactly a detail I would have voluntarily added to my life story. The situation is not ideal. But....I'm uncovering tremendous "gifts" through this process. There are so many things I'm discovering, so many lessons I'm learning. I don't believe that God "ailed" me with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression. I believe he intended me to live freely. This Christmas I have a different perspective, a perspective that I may have received the most unexpected gift of my life.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kristen. I've been following your blog, and so admire your courage to take this thing head on. Your writing is so full of humor, honesty and hope. Merry Christmas and best wishes for a new year full of unexpected gifts!
    Love, Mary Ann (Wilcox) Shepherd