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Dear Diary – Last week, I took my friend up north to get her covid booster shot. It felt like a quest since it was after dark and during rush hour. Rush hour in the city is always an adventure. Strangely, we toodled our way to the place without incident, and she happily “suited up” and headed in a happy camper.

She was not a happy camper when she got back to the car half an hour later.The system said she was one day short of being eligible for her booster,even though she was already past the recommended timeline.

We had to go north again a few days later and now the deed is done. But a government-based health care system that doesn’t work properly? There’s a shocker!

Dear Diary – Once again, our Christmas plans are on hold as covid numbers climb and a new variant threatens to hold us hostage in our homes. Already my parents’ area has been put under restrictions, which means our small family gathering of seven people is too many people. It’s disappointing, but I’m trying to keep things in perspective.

We had a wind storm Saturday evening which knocked out our power. You know you’ve been married awhile, when the house is void of candles, and the only ones I could find refused to stay lit without a lot of personal attention. I tried to stay calm. I had dragged my keester out of bed early to make my babka dough, which had been proving in the fridge for the last 6 hours, and needed to be baked in 2 hours. I would require more than a needy candle to make the chocolate spread and bake the loaves. But I knew if I couldn’t, if I sat in the dark for hours, it wasn’t the worst thing. My families were safe in their homes, and we were already immeasurably blessed. I had no idea that so many families south of the border were literally having their lives torn apart.

I always struggle a little at Christmas. I know so many who are facing their first Christmas missing someone they love. I know a family facing their last with someone they love. I see lonely, hurting people, and a dark and broken world, and I sometimes feel like I could be crushed under the weight of it. But it isn’t my pain alone to bear.

On Sunday, the pastor talked about hope. Hope is something that is built in all us. It is the anticipation of or confidence in a favourable outcome in a situation. But sometimes we are disappointed because we don’t get what we hoped for or we find ourselves in a place we didn’t expect to be. But the Creator who built hope in us also gave us a reason to hope in the form of a beautiful baby.

Jesus is the voice that whispers hope in our dark times. He came and died on our behalf so that we could have hope in every situation. When we believe in Him and give Him our hearts, we can live without being crushed by hopelessness.

I know that He is the only One in whom I can place my confidence. It won’t preclude me from anxious or fearful times, but I can trust that He will provide all that is needed to walk through those times. I can trust that He will comfort those who are hurting this season, and will produce wholeness and beauty in their lives through their experiences. Our current pain is temporary. Jesus’ death on the cross makes it possible for us to one day enter Heaven, where pain no longer exists. Hope, joy, love, peace – all these things are possible in Jesus even in the midst of suffering.

So I’m taking this jumbled package of hurts and needs to Him. Christmas may not look the same this year. For some, it may never look the same. So I’m asking Him to pour out His grace around each of our homes, however we are gathering. And I’m asking Him to whisper “hope”.

And dear diary, the power came on in time, and the chocolate babka was saved.

Dear Diary – Yesterday, Hubby went to the office, giving me a rare day to myself and I wasted it playing video games. I got my flu shot and felt too crummy to tackle cookies and candies. I’m only halfway through my adventourous baking wish list and running out of time. The house is a disaster and I don’t know if I’m hosting Christmas Day. But I needed a “day off”.

Today is Hubby’s official first day of Christmas vacation. He started it by drinking coffee and watching ridiculousness on t.v. What on earth am I going to do with him for the next 2 weeks?