(I know I know... it's not even close to Christmas, but hang in there, it'll be worth it.)
Have you ever been in the perfect setting?
Picture this: A few nights before Christmas and everyone is at the local Christian school for their annual Christmas program. All the kids are dressed up in red velvet dresses, shirts and ties, and new shoes. The young ones are fidgety, and singing way off key. The older girls are trying to walk in heals for the first time, and the boys are trying to be all cool. The parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. are all sitting in the pews with video cameras in hand. As the students sing Silent Night and the congregation joins in, you can see the big fat snowflakes beginning to fall outside.
Does it look/sound like a Hallmark movie?
What we don't see is the family that is sitting there glad that there was a dinner before the program because that is the only meal they'll have that day. We don't see the dad at the back who is stressing because he's been out of work for 6 months and there is no money for Christmas. We don't see the grandma sitting there soaking it all in because after the doctor's appointment earlier in the day she doesn't expect to make it to another Christmas program. We don't see all that, but it is still there.
That sound more real?
Do you like that first image better? I know I do. In fact, I have been in that first image. It is because of that that I find great comfort in taking a brief view of my life from the outside. It helps me to see the peace, happiness, and blessings that are always there but get overshadowed by blood sugar lows/highs, doctor's appointments, car repair bills, insane schedules, neverending chores, etc.
Next time you have a chance, when you're sitting there with your feet up on the couch reading your favorite book, or out in the back yard doing some gardening, take a deep breath and imagine the scene from the outside. I can almost guarantee you'll end up smiling.