Just Because…

Dec 7, 2016 by

Last year, I walked into the choir room on Christmas Eve with a cloud of melancholy threatening my holiday joy. I was looking forward to singing in a Christmas Eve service for the first time since 2010, but everything about the experience resurrected memories of another life that felt more and more like someone else’s. I hadn’t expected to miss my old friends so much while enjoying new ones, or to get weepy when we rehearsed “Silent Night” because we would be singing it by candle light and the last time I held a candle while singing that song I’d been standing beside my husband. I was supposed to be over all of that! And then there was the big disappointment of Christian not being able to come home for Christmas. We’d already planned to go to him the day after, but there would still be a hole in Christmas Day.

I walked into the choir room on Christmas Eve with a cloud of melancholy threatening my holiday… Click To Tweet

I made up my mind to keep my sadness to myself so I wouldn’t distract from the celebratory spirit in the room. As Marmee said in my favorite version of Little Women, “It’s Christmas Eve. Father wouldn’t want us to be sad now.” (I really did hear that line in my head.)

So I set my plate of Russian tea cakes and gingerbread men on the snack table, took my place with the sopranos, and got ready to warm up.

I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. It was Brenda, a fun, vivacious woman who wore lots of sparkly jewelry, got away with fragrances that wouldn’t suit me at all but smelled nice on her, and always made me smile.

She reached out for a hug. “Hey, sweetheart. Merry Christmas.” Then she handed me a mug wrapped in cellophane. “I have a little something for you, because I just think you’re a really nice person.”

img_0243-2“Thank you so much!” I hugged her again. She had no idea what a mixed bag of emotions I’d carried in with my plate of cookies. The mug reminded me of one that my grandmother would’ve had. A candy cane ornament rested against the cellophane. I love candy canes! Whether real or decorative, they are, in my opinion, the happiest of all Christmas candy. Brenda didn’t know that. But God did.

When I put my Christmas mugs away for the season, I kept Brenda’s in the cupboard so I could use it all year. Every time I sip coffee out of it I remember the gift that came at the perfect moment and sent the message, You have a new church family filled with friends who love you.

Preparing for another Christmas and looking back on last year’s reminds me that this really is a mixed-emotions time for a lot of people. For some it isn’t even mixed, it’s just plain hard. How many of us can say we haven’t experienced both at one time or another? But hopefully we can also remember little things that reminded us people cared about us, whether or not they knew we were having a less-than-Merry Christmas.

Perhaps you know someone who needs a “just because I think you’re a nice person” gift, or a “because I know this is a hard Christmas for you” gift. I would like to offer you a chance to give her something!

Every year I make ornaments; this year I’m making miniature ice skates!

img_0239-2If you’d like to win an ice skates ornament to give as a gift, let me know and I’ll enter your name in the drawing. If the person you have in mind happens to be a single mom who might also enjoy Suddenly Single Mom, let me know and I’ll include a signed copy for you to give with the ornament.

I would love to hear your stories of times when God lifted your spirits during a difficult Christmas. If you share a story I’ll enter your name twice!

I would love to hear your stories of times when God lifted your spirits during a difficult… Click To Tweet


Since it’s so close to Christmas, this will be a quick contest. Nathan will draw a name on Saturday!


In the meantime, who needs to be reminder, you’re loved today?



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  1. Carolyn Wolf

    Three years ago I was recovering from a stem cell transplant during the Christmas holidays. I still remember the outpouring of cards, gifts, meals, help around the house, prayers, etc., etc.
    Ironically enough I recently had a set back with my multiple myeloma and have just finished two rounds of treatments at UCSF. I am now home recovering once again during the Christmas holidays. And once again I have a boxful of cards, gifts, meals, etc. etc.
    It is extra hard being a musician and having to give up all of the Christmas concerts I was supposed to play for. But God’s plan is for me to rest in Him and receive His love for me through my friends and family and even some strangers. Thank you, Lord, that you you care about the smallest detail in my recovery during this blessed season.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      Carolyn, I was thinking about you this week, and how ironic it is that you are once again recovering during the Christmas season. I thought about all the concerts that you were excited about the last time we had lunch together, and how hard it must be for you to have bow out of those and be isolated again. I’m so thankful that God has showered you with gifts! What a blessing. My family is praising Him for allowing you to do so well that UCSF sent you home early. We can’t wait to give you a hug in person when you are up to a visit.

      I just entered your name in the drawing. Twice!

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