Over the last few days, Brian has started asking what I want for Christmas…yeah he’s a last minute guy. I came up with a few things, but for some reason that question has settled in my soul, what do I REALLY want for Christmas. As I’ve been thinking about it, I came up with my real Christmas list.
Contentment. I want to be let go of all the jealousy. The jealousy I feel when I see someone able to pursue their career goals in a way I haven’t since autism came into our lives. The jealousy I feel when I see people going on fabulous vacations, vacations we can no longer afford due to medical bills. And the jealousy I feel when I see the other kids Collier’s age growing up and leaving him behind. Instead I want to embrace contentment. To rest in the real blessings I have been so graciously given: an incredible husband, a loving son, and supportive parents. To love with abandon the corner of the world that God has established for me.
Peace. It’s so easy in this constantly moving world to add so much to our plates, that tranquility in spirit becomes almost impossible. Before we know it, we’re heading to three different therapies, a couple of doctor’s appointments, trying to do a million different hands-on learning projects, and have agreed to head up yet another committee. In trying not to miss out an any opportunity that might help Collier, we sacrifice a time just to be still (well as still as rocking, flapping and spinning allows you to be) with our families. It may not be a quiet peace, autism is rarely ever quiet in our house, but I want a peace that allows us freedom from anxious thoughts and to have confidence in the decisions we’ve made for Collier. The kind of freedom that stops chasing after the normal things and starts cherishing the exceptional.
Joy. This is one that I’m trying to cultivate so, so much. So often we confuse joy with happiness, but they are so different. Happiness is a rapidly changing emotion and tends to be caused by other people or events. But joy, true joy, is a purposeful attitude that comes from deep within us. To me it is being at peace with who you are and where you are….and knowing without a doubt you have been placed there for a reason. When I express gratitude every day, even for the smallest of things….I’m choosing joy. When I refuse to allow a situation to make me mad….I’m choosing joy. When I keep scrolling instead of debating…I’m choosing joy. I want to live a life of joy as I walk my path, even when the thorns seem to be encroaching on the clearing.
Hope. Of all the definitions of hope, the one on my Christmas list is: “to expect with confidence.” All too often though, I think we let hope just turn into another word for wish. When we say we’re hoping a new medicine or therapy works, really we’re just wishing this one does…where so many before haven’t. A few weeks ago we found a video of Collier in kindergarten and we could barely understand him now. I saw first hand how all of our prayers for speech hadn’t just been wishes made out into space, but hopeful pleas answered with confidence by our God. It was such a powerful motivator to me to stop wishing and start hoping. True hope – based in the One who renews my strength.
So, this year while my social media feed is filled with pictures of Coach bags, iPhones, Pandora jewelry, and whatever else are the “hot” gifts now, I’m going to make a conscious effort to put that phone down and focus on my family. To stop worrying about the presents under the tree and enjoy the presence of the people around me.
Those are the real gifts I want this season.