Christmas 2021

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Merry Christmas!

This year has been something else, hasn’t it?  

The pandemic is slowing; however, the media and big pharma seem intent on keeping it in front of our eyes. We have repeatedly seen that this is about fear, control, and money more than it is about health.

The price of gas continues to rise, even though more of us than ever are driving less because we now work remotely. I haven’t gotten that one figured out at all.

My day job involves a closer than average view on just how troublesome (and expensive) the supply chain issue is in the world. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it going away anytime soon.

My hometown is still reeling from the Christmas Parade attack. Despite how wonderfully we have pulled together in the community, it is still a deep wound that gives us all a new normal. I stopped at my favorite coffee shop the other day, and try as people might, physical signs of the attack are still there to grab your heart and shake it to its core.

And then there’s the political situation in this country. Enough said there, right?

And of course, there are always the Christmas arguments~ almost as old as the holiday itself, and twice as divisive as fruit cake. Is Christmas Pagan? Is the term “Xmas” sacrilegious? What is the “reason for the season?” I actually saw a video the other day that claimed Christmas trees are scripturally forbidden by the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament.

Seriously. There are so many things wrong with that proclamation that I would need a flip chart to explain it all. No matter what faith you hold, please, please, PLEASE read your holy writings in context. It is tiring and painful to keep banging our heads on desks over stupid stuff.

With things so dark, I think we need a light in the darkness more than ever. So, I’d like to share a few of the lights in my life with you.

It is a time for gathering with loved ones, and I will get to spend time over the holidays with my daughter who lives an entire time zone away.

My knee gave me a lot of trouble this year, which is why I ditched it and got a new one. After some initial hurdles, I am well on the way to full recovery. I have an amazing doctor, for which I am extremely thankful.

Writing-wise, it’s been a good year given all the challenges (particularly the knee). I thoroughly enjoy the Friday Flash fictions. I write them on Saturdays because Friday night is date night for my husband and I, and we hold that time sacred. As I look back at this year’s stories they have taught me a fair bit about myself and where my writing brain tends to drift. Educational and fun: Who could ask for a better blessing? Thank you to my friend Jimmie for providing the prompts every week.

I have a short story back from my beta readers; I have a few tweaks I need to make to it. It’s very plot driven, the themes aren’t as strong as I’d like them. I find myself unsure of how deep I can go in a shorter work like that, maybe that’s a question for an editor. What do you think? I would love to have some feedback on this issue. How do you know when your theme is coming through in a short story?

This coming year I would like to shop that short story around, and maybe look back at the story I took to that conference in Provo with such disastrous results. I feel like I’ve learned enough to go back to it with fresh eyes and a better plot. I like the world; it runs on a gem-based magic system, and it looks at power structures in the upper levels of government.

I am increasingly involved in my house of faith. They are good people who understand that churches need to function as a hospital, not a court room. I enjoy my time there, and I think I’m a better person for it. Please don’t expect perfection from me, it ain’t gonna happen. As the saying goes about Christmas- The reason for the season is us. We are fallen, broken little dust-people who fall far short of everything we should be. While Jesus is the sort of bumper sticker reason for the season, the real reason He came to rescue us is because we desperately needed it.

That’s kind of amazing if you really think about it.

I hope you are navigating these most difficult of times with faith, love, and good literature.  

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