Flirting with Faith

Flirting with Faith


Shout Out to the Hurting at Christmastime

posted by Joan Ball

Tonight is Christmas Eve and I find myself facing the first Christmas in recent memory, maybe ever, that I wish was over before it began. I’m not bah humbug, nor am I falling apart sad. I am just not feeling it. Not interested. Indifferent.

Part of it has to do with the loss of both of my parents this year.  Those of you who read my piece on Stages of Grief know that they died at ages 67 and 65 within 20 days of one another in April.  He from a stroke and she from cancer.  Loss and Christmas can be difficult to reconcile.

Part of it has to do with watching one of my children struggle with the first sober Christmas and all that entails for the addict that is turning their life around. I remember that feeling from my first sober Christmas a number of years ago and I wish this child well.  Sobriety, depression and Christmas can be difficult to reconcile. 

Part of it has to do with having spent down the last of our savings and having had to borrow the money for our mortgage and Christmas presents this year while navigating the difficult bridge of having no predictable income or health insurance until January.  Financial uncertainty and Christmas can be difficult to reconcile.

And yet, in the midst of all of it, I have many things to be grateful for and there are millions of people on earth who have things far, far worse than we do. I am sitting in a warm home with a loving husband and three children who I love and who love me. I expect the first advance on my book to arrive in the mail any day now and I begin a new teaching job (with benefits) at the end of January, so there are good things on the horizon.  

Fortunately, hope and Christmas are not only easy to reconcile–they go hand in hand.

So, this is a shout out to all of the people for whom Christmas festivities are feeling like more of an assault than a gift. Those who are doing their best to go through the motions because of grief, or empty bank accounts or trying to stay away from a drink or a drug.  Let’s have a Merry Christmas anyway and pray for an even happier New Year.



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Stacey

posted December 24, 2008 at 10:46 pm


Joan,
I read your post and my heart goes out to you. I never said anything in regard to your parents because I had no idea what to say. I lost my father at Christmas when I was around 19 and it feels like yesterday. What happened to you broke my heart and I can’t fathom how you feel. However, God has a plan and a purpose. You and your family will be blessed.
As you know in life there is a lesson in everything. Things you’ve experienced are allowing you to touch the lives of many people through your writing. I have known you since high school but for the first time I can really say that I know you. You were my sister’s friend not mine but I saw the light in your eyes then. Your blessings are on the way!
As I type this post my neighbor and good friend is in the hospital with leukemia instead of being home celebrating Hanukkah with her husband and two young children. She is 34 and her kids are 1& 4. Every time I get ready to complain or get upset over something stupid, I think of her pain. I think of yours and others that I know. So for many reasons my Christmas is not like it used to be but I am here. I am grateful for every breath I take although its coupled with the sadness of life’s past and current experiences. I give God the glory because I know I will make it through whatever life gives me. I pray for a healthy and prosperous New Year. I pray the same prayer for you. There is a gospel song by Marvin Sapp that goes:
Praise Him In Advance :
I’ve had my share of ups and downs, times when there was no one around, God came and spoke these words to me, praise will confuse the enemy.
I started singing, I started clapping, I started dancing, people were laughing, they knew my problems, they knew my pain, but I knew God would take them away.
That’s why I praise him with my hands, that’s why I praise him with a dance, He’s given me a second chance, come on lets praise him in advance.
That’s why I praise him with a song, when things are right and when they’re wrong, He’s given me a second chance, come on lets praise Him in advance
Be blessed!!



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Trish Ryan

posted December 29, 2008 at 11:29 am


“Financial uncertainty and Christmas can be hard to reconcile.”
What wise words. I know you’re in the middle of a book project right now, but I hope you’ve written down your experience this year–whether you have been able to reconcile these things or not–for a future project. Because there are millions of people out there wondering about the same thing.
Bless your new year to exceed your expectations!



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Joan Ball

posted December 29, 2008 at 3:57 pm


Hi Trish: Hope you had a great Christmas. Interestingly, this book project is one that is being lived as it is written, so today’s financial uncertainty and the hope of it being resolved are part of this story. My experience of and with God has been uncertain and unpredictable since day one. That’s why I am not too surprised that the book remains open-ended and yet is still true to the agreed upon outline. I don’t even know the end of my own book as I am writing it…which is another example of why life with God so very interesting.
What is the status of your new project?



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