This is a post I put on my TrailPraisers ministry fb page–which is an inclusive worshiping community for disabled and non-disabled individuals. We haven’t been meeting. Leadership was changing, then I was sick, then the pandemic hit. so I’ve been pondering and missing this ministry a lot. https://www.facebook.com/TrailPraisers. I think there is a lot of pieces of this holiday and this expresses some of it.
This is the time of year we would be just finishing our monumental Breakfast with Santa event. I love this event, because it is an attempt for New Covenant to provide a really accessible and easygoing way to meet Santa.
I like to joke that we had a Sensory friendly Santa before there was such a thing as a Sensory Friendly Santa. I mourned when the bacon went on sale—because normally I’m calculating what the maximum amount of bacon we can afford to buy and hit the big bacon sale in early December, as well as the pancake mix and/or egg sale. (Note You can never make too much bacon for these things). I miss the ease of telling people they can absolutely show up last minute, that a child can take all the time they need to meet Santa and simply sit on the stoop in front of him if he’s too overwhelming, or (like Westley) get in line to hug him 60 times if they need to.
Christmas isn’t easy for families with disabilities, we have to pick and choose our traditions, and deal with tantrums during “fun” things and true heart ache when things change too much for our disabled family member.
I want to give you full permission to miss people and help and hugs and traditions. God knows that is where I am. And also give you permission to feel a little relief that this season isn’t as busy. I love Thanksgiving but it was the least stressful one ever because we didn’t have to pack, travel and get back in time for work and church.
I know Westley misses meeting Santa 5 or 6 times this season, Franklin (my eldest with ADD) is missing being able to show his flair for drama with a Christmas Pageant at our church, and Ashburn (who has speech and reading problems) is bemoaning that everything is different this year. Everything cutting down the Christmas tree, which he confided to me felt pretty normal actually.
Here are some things that have worked for us; We chopped down a tree, and that was so great we went and store bought another one to decorate, we hung candy canes on the tree, we are moving the elves every night (which is not my favorite but whatever), we are watching Christmas movies a lot and switching which one is our favorite daily, we are playing Christmas Music during dinner, occasionally lighting an advent candle in a homemade wreath when we get a chance, we are opening our advent calendars, and writing Christmas cards to friends.
We made sugar cookies (and have the 2nd batch still in the fridge to make again later), and bought, decorated and devoured gingerbread houses. We also zoomed Santa, signed up for the portable north Pole videos of Santa and walked (we didn’t know you could walk it) the Capital lights at Washington Park, we might go again to walk or drive it. We might also be looking into Ellms and ChristmasLand for outdoor/safe holiday things to do.
I miss Trailpraisers and I miss all of the Christmas traditions. I know that Christmas will come somehow, but I also know it’s hard for us families for whom leaving the house is huge undertaking alone. I am praying for everyone, and hoping you are having little moments of joy. And am reminding myself that this is a difficult season, but it is just a season, and it will end.
And also, that Jesus comes somehow anyway always on Christmas.
No matter what we have or haven’t done, or how we’ve pulled it together, or whatever difficult decisions we’ve had to make, Jesus always comes.
Feel free to share with Credit to Pastor Katy
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