Today's message is from Clare Cartagena, a friend, a member and a mentor of my writing group, and a gifted, multipublished writer with her first novel in the works.

Proverb 14:13 “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.”

Every year my mother created Christmas in our house. Despite having things going wrong in her life, she transformed our unhappy, tension filled home into a winter wonderland. For those weeks, the scepter of fear was removed and the light of the Star put in its place. Angels appeared, music filled the air and special stuffed toys came out of hiding. Colored lights and silvery tinsel sparkled like magic on the tree. The decorations inspired joy where joy might not normally be.

I enjoy a happy home with my husband and children but I continue my mother’s tradition at least in the zeal with which I decorate. Christmas starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Boxes are pulled from the crawl space, numbered and labeled. The Christmas village gets put out first, then the garland, the lights and candles. The list goes on and on until nearly all of downstairs is covered in Christmas cheer. Sometimes however if I am not careful, circumstances can invade the holiday so that the cheer is only in the decorations and not in the heart.

It is strange that a time of joy can intensify our feelings of pain. Even as we put out cherished heirlooms, fill the house with the smell of evergreen and sing carols known since childhood, our hearts can be heavy. Maybe this season you are trying to keep a smile upon your face and cheeriness in your voice, while inside a hidden pain bleeds away your strength. Take heart friend, the Lord knows your struggle. He does not want you to carry this burden without Him. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Take your pain to Him in prayer. Go to the altar. Pour out your heart to Him. Let Him give you rest. Let Him give you a smile inside and out. It’s the best decoration to wear.

Clare Cartagena


Cheri Bunch said...

Beautiful! Inspiring! Uplifting! Thank you!


ps. Susan, I am going to be a grandma next summer! :)

Marja said...

Thank you Clare and Susan for sharing your thoughts! Great post!

Maria said...

It's very true.

Chris said...

I loved this one! I hope you had a special Thanksgiving with your family.