This has been a particularly hard Advent season for me. The past few months in fact have been challenging.
I was admitted to the hospital mid-August with gangrene which put me out of work for 6 weeks. This incurred unexpected medical bills on top of the expense of repairing the roof of the house after a bad wind storm blew through (I still say we had a near-touchdown tornado in my neighborhood). Needless to say, Christmas is going to be very modest this year for the family.
My father was diagnosed early this year with stage-4 esophagan cancer. I hadn't been close to him for several years due to an event in which I had to place the well-being of my children and my mariage over relations with my parents. I pray for him and my mother often and do visit them on occassion, but some hurts just haven't healed as much as I wish.
The elderly shut-in I take Holy Communion to on Sundays was not home when I arrived the week before last. I know I should have called and left a message to have her husband call and let me know if she was ok, but my nasty little habit of putting things off got the better of me. It wasn't until the following Sunday when I showed up did I find out that she had been (and still was) in the hospital. She had been suffering from the shingles for several weeks and the pain finally just got to be too much for her.
I went home that day and had and while my wife and son decorated the Christmas tree, I went into the kitchen and had an emotional breakdown because I felt like I was letting everyone around me down and right then felt so helpless to do anything about it. To top it all off, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, so now I can't even eat comfort food to help deal with my mood, or rather it has contributed to my pre-Christmas depression. I have lost 30 pounds since August so I suppose there is a up-side to that but it sure doesn't make me feel real positive at the moment.
God bless my wife for holding me, for reminding me to just give it all up to Jesus to deal with and to pray. Prayer has been coming harder for me as well lately. I don't know why. I guess Satan knows I'm very vulnerable at this point in my life and is trying to re-take control. One more battle to offer up to The Lord.
I can barely stand to listen to Christmas music on the radio (especially that secular crap that gets passed on as "Christmas music" when it has nothing to do with Christ. It just adds to my depression. The one that really gets my goat when I hear it is that heretical "Mary Did You Know?". YES YOU FRIGGIN' IDIOT! SHE DID KNOW! I honestly don't know how any Christian (especially Catholics) can listen to that tune and call it a good song. The Blessed Mother had full disclosure before saying yes to becoming the Mother of God Incarnate and was saved at her conception, not "soon too" as the song would have you believe. Yes, God can do that and He did do that, because God exists out of chronological time and for him the sacrafice on the cross already happened. Which is why the Messianic salvation prophecy written in the Book of Isaiah speaks of it in the PAST TENSE (at the risk of sounding like that nut-job Glenn Beck, don't take my word for it, look it up for yourself).
Now that I got THAT off my chest, I feel a little better. The ironic thing...I'm listening to Christmas music as I write this. I've been downloading the "25 Days of Holiday Music" MP3 freebies from Amazon and for an old metalhead like me, there's nothing like hearing "Deck the Halls" a-la Twisted Sister. Thank God Theocracy releases a Christmas freebie every year as well. At least that way I can get my endorphine rush while still singing about the season.
At any rate, I've ranted enough for now. God bless, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (because 2012 has GOT to be better than 2011).