Martha Randolph Carr Martha Randolph Carr, 12/22/2011 [Archive]

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

By Martha Randolph Carr

This is a quiet Christmas. There's been so many of the details of everyday life to take care of that I haven't had the time to run downtown to the Bean in Chicago and hear caroling. I haven't been to the Kris Kinder Market and strolled among the rows of hundreds of handmade glass German ornaments.

Although, next year I may finally give in and buy an expensive, glass ornament of a pickle and hide it in the tree branches. Apparently spotting the pickle is good luck and it's a long-standing tradition for a lot of Chicagoans. It's the right kind of quirky.

I also didn't make it to the Walnut Room in Macy's, or as it's still known to long-time residents, Marshall Fields, to marvel at the enormous tree. I didn't even take a ride on the Santa train, a transformed El line that has Santa in his sleigh on a flat bed in the middle.

Last year I got around to all of it and it felt like Christmas lasted for months. I loved it all and by the time it was January I was ready to get on with things.

But this time December flew by and I have barely kept up with what goes down on a normal day minus the holiday season. In the past, that would have really bugged me. I mean, come on, it isn't Christmas unless certain things happen in a certain way.

Fortunately, I caught on to a very small truth that has made getting through life a little easier and Christmas a lot merrier. Nothing in life is really about me.

That's a big statement but what it means is that Christmas is about the beginning of a faith that says we are all loved beyond our ability to understand. Stop trying to figure out what that means and get on with being of service to others. That can look like holding open a door, speaking with kindness to someone in our family, or doing a good job at work.

It's not about whether or not I like my job or I'm in a hurry or I don't like what someone is doing. It's not about me.

Every time I can take my needs, my thoughts on how things ought to be out of a scenario everything runs more smoothly.

That's the moment when I once again admit, I'm not in charge but God is and all is well.

So, this Christmas is passing more quietly with a recognition that the whole point of the season is that Christ was born and an amazing pledge was made. I am loved just as I am, all the time, no matter what. Every time I remember, I can feel myself relax and slow down just a little.

For me, a life without faith was one long struggle.

I was always trying to figure out how to fix what or who I saw as a problem. I lay in bed thinking about what might go wrong because I thought if I could see problems coming I could get out ahead of them. Things wouldn't turn out quite so badly. I was in charge and I was running off of fear and anxiety.

I must have been a real joy for everybody else too.

Finally, I wore myself out and was willing to try things differently. A wise friend said, God is enormous and He can take it. Test Him and stop doing so much and see what happens. I did but I was so full of fear I could barely say a word to anyone for weeks.

However, a miracle happened because the world got along just fine, maybe even better, without all of my worry. It was my first glimpse of grace and was just enough of an opening for me to wonder if maybe there was an easier way to live life. There are still long days and things happen that are full of sorrow, it's just not as deep or as wide.

So, for all those who are feeling lost among the happiness this Christmas season and wonder if anyone hears you or cares that you're afraid or sick or lonely, someone does. Someone cares who is far bigger than me, who can take all of it and loves you through it.

I have a small present for all of you this Christmas and feel free to take as much as you want and keep it for as long as you need it.

It's the knowledge that you are loved beyond my ability to tell you and it's okay to stop worrying. That's what we're really celebrating at Christmas time. Merry Christmas everyone. Tweet me @MarthaRandolph and let me know how your season of renewal is going. Email Martha at Martha@caglecartoons.com.

© 2011 Martha Randolph Carr. Martha's column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate. This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author. For info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Sales@cagle.com. Download Martha Randolph Carr's black and white mug shot photo.

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