Friday, December 2, 2016

Have Faith, Have Hope: Two Hours of Grace

I made a natural wool nativity for each of my siblings

Angels and stars

Faith and hope have never come easily to me. I was naturally cynical before chronic pain and depression  further clouded my soul.

But I choose to believe. And sometimes a little light pierces the darkness. Sunday I had one of those moments.

I skipped church because of pain. It was not the RA, fetal-position pain. It was fibromyalgia, angry, gnaw-my-own-leg-off pain.

I'm going to steal from Snickers commercials and say I felt "pangry"--I hurt and wanted to hurt someone back. Part of me was convinced that punching someone in the nose would make me feel better. So, not a good spirit for worship.

and angels inside stars

Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally (during my teaching career) been the only time there was time and energy to decorate the Christmas tree.My sons had already done the most physical parts--schlepped boxes up the stairs and  assembled the tree so I figured I could start picking at the decorating. I tuned in to a session of the most recent LDS General Conference and got to work.

That was one of the best two hours I've had since my career fell apart. Part of it was getting to be artistic and playing with sparkly things, but most of it was Christmas.

I've never been a Santa fan. Christmas is all about Jesus. For more than a decade now, I've had a "Jesus Tree." The top is stars and angels. Holy Family is at the center. The bottom is for wisemen, shepherds, and (especially) sheep.

So decorating the tree is all about focusing on the simple, but profound nativity story.

In the midst of the dangerous political environment of Judea under the rule of Augustus Caesar and Herod the Great, these two powerful men were not the main story.  The fates of every human being in history rested on one newborn baby.

There is a lot I don't understand, but I can understand the faith it takes to bring a baby into the world and the hope invested in each new child.

A children's song Mormon kids sing at Christmas and Easter completes the story.

He Sent His Son

How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness.
How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.
How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask? Live like his son.
--Mabel Jones Gabbott

Have faith.
Have hope.
Live like his son.
Help others on their way.

A good plan. The best plan. I have my work cut out for me.

These are the only Christmas decorations available in my shop.

My favorite local yarn shop--Unravelled Sheep is sponsoring a knit for charity activity this month. People are invited to hang out and knit or crochet from 2-4 PM on Wednesday and Friday. Vera is also accepting items knit off site. She's giving tickets for a gift certificate give away, but that's not the point. The point is that I can help others while doing what I enjoy.

I have cleared several things from my shop to contribute. I'm also rummaging through my stash for nearly completed things that I can finish. A friend jut gave me some really pretty wool mix yarns that I can turn into a baby blanket. So the plan for this month is to knit the tail ends of a couple of Christmas gifts and as many warm hats, gloves, and baby blankets as I can.

Heaven won't be heaven if dressing like this isn't an option. Feathers and fiber-optics!

Ask me between three and five in the afternoon and I won't have to lie.

I should be great. My sons are signed up to start school in January. My hard-working husband has led us to a lot of progress towards long-term financial comfort. I have family support from all sides.

But I can't pep-talk myself into feeling better than my body does right now, so I feel pretty rotten most of the time. Prednisone has helped with energy the last couple days, which means my main meds are failing me and I need to see my doctor.

In the meantime, I'll take all the drugs I can, knit a lot, torture my family with Christmas music and the Hamilton Mixtape and try to find distracting books and TV. Episode one of Gilmore Girls didn't do it for me. I'll gladly take recommendations.

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