TIME OUT WITH LOIS: The ‘normal life’ and Christmastime

It seems from the time we turn our new calendars to January, in our heads we are marching day by day, week by week, to the grand finale, Christmas! You may be celebrating Hanukkah. It could be the same for your family.

Lois Olmstead


In my march toward Christmas, I am thinking of putting up a tree, decorating the house, seeing kids in Christmas programs, getting cards from friends, singing carols, and of course, eating as many Christmas cookies as possible. I am thinking of all the parts of Christmas that celebrate what the Harked Herald Angels Club Choir sang. “Behold we bring you glad tiding of great joy! A Savior is born!” I love the church services at Christmastime.

In my march through the year toward Christmas I am anticipating the gifts I might find for the grandkids, simple but something they will like. I think about the friends we will invite over … I think about this stuff all year long.

What I do not think about, what I do not remember, what I do not prepare for is the unfailing “Normal Life” that shows up in the midst of Christmas.

 Like yesterday. It was my eye appointment with a specialist in Bozeman. It started snowing early in the day and by the time I got out of my doctor visit, you could barely see across the street. I could not see anyway because my eyes were dilated. Kathy, our daughter-in-law was going to drive me home, but seeing all the cars in the ditch, I opted to stay in a motel and drive home this morning when I could see.

But more “Normal Life” crept in. My phone rang at 6 a.m. Ross said, “I have Gram at the ER. She fell and cut her ring finger. She needs stitches. She has a bruised knee too.” When I talked to her she said, “How could I forget to turn on the light when I got up to go to the bathroom?”

I said, “Probably just like Jim Held who forgot at his age not to be up a ladder hanging Christmas lights.” I visited him in the hospital today. While there I saw my friends, Greg and Sally. Their daughter Heidi had got bucked off a horse and broke her collarbone. She was in surgery. Yup, normal life happens in December too, for all of us.

And I still have my joy, because my mom did not hit her head when she fell. For that matter Jim’s head was fine and Heidi is going to be OK, too. But sometimes other things happen around Christmas that do not turn out fine.

One of my all time favorite Christmas memories was a picture my friend Stacy posted on Facebook of a child-size nativity set that belongs to her and Rusty’s little ones. She had written “Found the kids’ nativity arranged like this after they were in bed.”

The picture shows the plastic characters including a sheep, the shepherd, the kings, an angel and Mary and Joseph in a tight circle around the manger, all facing in on baby Jesus!

Soon I am going to need a new copy I have shared it so much. Somehow in my mind I like seeing all of us gathered around that Babe in the manger. With all the “normal life” that comes to us, personally and around the world, we need to be reminded the angels said, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Jesus Christ the Lord.”

This year, maybe for all of us, circling the manger may be a start in the healing process with all we face in normal life. Never forget God sent His Son Jesus because of His love for all of us, meaning you and me. (John 3:16).


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at loiso@wispwest.net or visit www.timeoutwithlois.com.