Every lesson should have a "Take Away" and I hope what you will reap from my words is this:  It will not be the same--but it can be good.  With a change in the cast of characters--it is perfectly alright and perhaps even good to change the traditions.  Different is not bad--different is just different.  Spend some time thinking about how your holidays have looked and how you would like for them to look.  Talk it over with your loved ones--family and friends.  Seek the New Normal--just as normal evolved over years of time before the change in your life---this new normal will also have to evolve and the starting point is this year.  

Perhaps the single most important thing to remember is that you are not the only one in this boat.  There are others out there also suffering during this holiday period.  Many do not have homes, many do not have food for the table much less gifts to share.  Could it be that taking the spotlight off our own grief and concentrating on others we will not only survive the holidays, but actually thrive during them?  The gift God has given me repeatedly over the past few years --the balm for the pain--has been service to others.  Stepping outside of the circle of grief and taking a detour down the path of service.  If I am serving others, I am not thinking of myself.

Are there others in your sphere of influence who might be alone during the holidays?  Invite them into your circle.  Change the venue, change the guest list, change the menu---embrace the change that has occurred and make good changes of your own.  Tradition is important to you--then continue the traditions--relishing in the memories of the past-but recognize the importance of the present.  Change has occurred--face that fact and figure out how to make the present also wonderful. 

I have spent this week writing and encouraging you to not only survive--but create a new normal of joy during these holidays.  How will my holidays play out and will I wrap myself around my own advice?  I promise to report this year how my holidays looked.  I am in control of my holiday--my attitude-my new normal---if it is a dismal failure it will be my fault and mine only---BUT what I am expecting is a joy filled holiday as I seek the new normal--ALL with Him in the center--for I know the plans HE has for me---THEY ARE GOOD!

"2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials"
James 1:2

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