As I sit here in my bed at 6am, after a completely inadequate 6 hours of sleep, my mind is working hard. I just dosed Maggie within an inch of her life. She has a terrible cold. As I was gathering her medicine, Gracie came strolling in, followed by my Dad. When I peeked in Maggie's door, she was awake and watching a movie.
I'm not sure where to start this post. I have so much in my mind. Christmas, depression, grief, death, parenting...
Bill died just one short month ago. His loss is terribly fresh. So fresh, in fact, that it still seems a little unreal. I wonder if other people feel exactly as I do this morning. There is a fierce desire for Christmas to be uninterrupted, for it to continue on exactly as it has been. But that is impossible. One of us is not here. His loss is a tear in the very fabric of our existence. It has changed us.
I have four children. One is experiencing depression for the first time. One, who is normally stoic, is weepy and emotional. One is feeling bouts of protectiveness that give rise to sleepless nights and restlessness. One is fixated and terrified of every other person they love dying.
Merry Christmas to us.
Well, we can find comfort in our traditions, right? No, those aren't happening. I won't go into it, but the change puts a spotlight directly on the loss. Every one of my kids has felt a fresh wave of loss in the last twelve hours. My gut reaction to the ones causing the change is hurt, layered with anger. But everyone grieves differently and I am called to forgive and blah blah blah.
On the other side of my heart, it feels like, is the realization that Christmas has never really captured my heart. Sure, I've always said the right thing. I've read Luke 2 on the morning of, always with a little impatience if I'm going to be completely honest. Why has it never captured me? Why is my heart hard? I have prayed for God to reveal this to me.
I woke up to the Holy Spirit at work. It feels like he's taken a big whisk and begun stirring my heart with hard, beating strokes. Or like when I had second and third degree burns on my legs and the treatment required scrubbing them with a rough cloth and peeling the damaged skin away. The skin underneath is raw and inflamed and longs to scab over and be left alone. But for them to heal, they had to be disturbed and then soothed with the cooling antibiotic ointment.
The Gospel is my ointment this morning.
For me, the beauty of Christmas has always been in the comfort, smiles and joy, but this year, God brought me death. I want the ease and comfort, but God brought me the uncomfortable Truth of the Incarnation. Christ came, in the form of man, to accomplish salvation for a needy, fearful, weepy, depressed, depraved people... my family.
That sweet, innocent baby.. who I always pictured as in a nativity scene, maybe sucking on his fist and looking wide-eyed up at the shepherds... came to be tortured, tested, beaten and bruised, for me. He came. HE CAME. He was God, he was perfectly content, but he came. For me. For Bill. For my family. He came.
My heart aches for a different reason. Tears roll down my cheeks for a different reason.
HE CAME. He showed up. He entered in.
Death and sin abounded. But he came. He would go on to conquer death and pay for sin.
Christmas is not about this tiny baby who looked so cute in his feeding trough. The shepherds got it. The wise men understood.
There is no hope apart from Him. There is no comfort. There is no beauty. There is no eternal smile. There is no joy. This baby was The WORD. He was God. He was very God of very God. He was... the sacrifice.
My heart is captured. Dazzled. Devastated in a totally new and blinding way. I weep in gratitude. I weep in sorrow for my loss. I long for heaven and for my faith to be sight.
I have seen a glimpse of His glory this morning.
"The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin..."
At this moment, I don't even care about all the pretty gifts under the tree or the food in the crock pot. I want to sit and bask in the transcendent beauty that is my merciful and loving God... He came. For me. For you.
I pray that this truth, this hope, this cataclysmic event with capture your heart as it has mine. If it never has, ask him to show you His glory as Moses did, as I did last night. Beg for it until He does.