As Christmases go, I’ve had better ones. Granddaughter Anna got sick on Christmas Eve which ended the celebration early for her and little brother Noah and her parents. As Anna and Noah were whisked away my heart ached for them (and me). No five year-old wants to be sick on Christmas; no grandfather wants to see his little angel sad on Christmas Eve.
Moments earlier I had received a message that my wife’s cousin had lost her battle with cancer. I decided that I would wait until later to gently break that sad news to Deb. And just the day before we had received word that our friends’ Dad had passed away.
This was not the Christmas that I had planned. I HAD PLANNED? Therein lies the absurdity. Once again I was reminded that I am not in charge. All the planning, all the hoping, all the deliberation about this gift or that, what food to prepare, what to wear, seemed silly when I finally put everything in perspective. Because still He comes.
Jesus comes amidst our joy and sorrow; our triumphs and disappointments. He comes to be with us. God is with us.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Matthew 1:23
We learned later that our friends’ family shared their traditional Christmas Eve gathering in honor of their Dad. Deb’s cousin’s family gathered together as well – first at the hospital and then at home; embracing one another and carrying on as Mom would have wanted.
And Anna? Well she felt a little puny on Christmas Day but I believe that Santa lifted her spirits. And yesterday she was able to exchange gifts and share hugs and giggles with her cousins and little brother. Her upset belly seemed to be a distant memory.
This Christmas, even in our sorrow and in our loss, we have so much for which to be thankful – the love of friends and family; the joy of children in our midst.
And in it and through it all, still He comes…