In a field near my home, I noticed someone took the time to put a star on top of a tree. A little piece of joy in a field full of weeds, shrubs, and trees. It’s been there for a few weeks and every time I drive by it makes me smile. Yesterday, I finally stopped to capture this star to share the little ways we can spread joy in the world. The wind has caused the star to lean more than when I first noticed, but it’s still holding on strong.
Ever since I became an “adult”, the Christmas season is filled with emotionally difficulties for me. There’s struggle to want to keep the Christmas season about Jesus, yet also getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of parties, gift giving, decorating, cookie making etc. This year has been no different; I struggle to maintain my joy. Part of my problem is my birthday is a week before Christmas. To some people they could careless what day they celebrate their birthday, I however feel it should be celebrated on the actual day or let’s call it something else. Any other day doesn’t hold the same buzz to the actual day. I love birthdays because it’s the one day in which the world gets to celebrate you. There doesn’t need to be a ton of gifts, or parties but to have one day to simply celebrate a persons entry to the world is special. For my kids, we always do something special from the moment they wake up and let them be the star for the day. My husband and I have a more subtle day but it’s special all the same. What happens when you have a birthday near Christmas is everyone gets caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Birthday’s becomes a side note of “oh, yeah, and Happy Birthday.” The focus is celebrating Christmas not an individual. We live in a busy world and I truly try to think of all the other things I am so grateful for so I really never voice this struggle because it seems so petty. Like usual, I smile and move on to a new day. Really the celebration should focus on Jesus, because without Him who am I? Yet I am a sinner and selfish.
Another part of my struggle is living so far from my family, it can get lonely to not have people who share the same traditions and memories as what I did growing up. But as I passed this tree this week I thought, instead of feeling sorry for myself to have to share in Jesus’ birthday and while I feel alone among so many other people, I need to celebrate all these struggles because Jesus understands the struggle too. Jesus came into this world as a baby, needing the help of humans. Throughout His life we don’t read stories about Jesus hanging with friends being carefree and joyous. No, we read stories of Him surrounding Himself with people whom He taught and served. Even as a young child, Jesus was found in the temple teaching, then with the Apostle He taught, healed, and performed miracles. Sure they must have enjoyed each others company but the Apostle always looked to Jesus for direction. Who did Jesus turn to for comfort? Mary and His Father. So I as pondered the lesson of what I need to learn from my emotional struggles, it occurred to me Jesus must have felt lonely at times too. He knew He was to suffer and die, he prophesied it several times, yet His friends couldn’t understand His message.
During Eucharistic Adoration this week, I prayed for help to make sense of my struggles and the Lord helped me to see how I need to be a light of His joy in the darkness. There are so many others who also are alone and struggle during this time of year and every day. Each of us are called to share the Gospels which are full of people who struggle and witnesses to Jesus’ healing love. Driving away from the Church it felt like I heard the saying before, I was then remembered who:
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta lived her life with this thought. The more I thought about this tree and Mother Teresa I realized I too have to be a light in the darkness. God doesn’t let us struggle to succumb to the problems, but to learn to lean on Him and let Him shine through us. When no one else understand, Jesus understand. He understands the struggle so much He took it to the cross with Him out of love. A love so great there is nothing He did not and would not suffer for us so we would come to understand true love. Mother Teresa felt abandoned and alone. YES, can you believe someone who everyone wanted to be around struggled!! She knew she was loved even if she didn’t feel God’s presence. She knew she needed to be the face of Christ for those who had no one. She was obedient in the task given to her and we are called to do the same. If you feel like you are alone in this world, try to understand you are given an opportunity to be a light in the darkness. Turn to Jesus for help, because he is always with you.
“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
― Mother Teresa
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