Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmas. I have always loved Christmas. Who doesn't? I suppose some.

This day was so monumental for me. My girls and I were home all day, just the three of us. Last year, I could not even comprehend what my husband's death could mean. I was so incapable of processing the whole thing… I just closed my eyes, hung onto the rail for dear life, and hoped I'd wake up at the end of the long, terrible roller-coaster ride. This year, I worked hard. I studied it with my GriefShare group and my counsellor. I made notes, planned ahead, made some big decisions about what me and my family could handle… This year, I was just a tad bit more prepared. 

What always takes me off guard, though, is the sense that grief doesn't belong at Christmas. The idea of coming together to fellowship over food and gifts and lights and decor… the ideals of a glorious festival, these things I love. This is how I grew up celebrating Christmas. More gifts than we could ever afford, more food than we could ever eat, and more fellowship than we could ever handle…! It reveals what I have come to believe is our cultures greatest weakness. Our inability to grieve. 

Catastrophic loss is all-comsuming. It involves the loss of person, and compounded losses of other kinds… Ideas from ones childhood. Beliefs about life, the Christian life, family, and ministry… But I have gained so much. Through loss we gain so much. This is an established principle for the life experience of the disciple. We lose our life to find it. We are blessed when we are broken. We are strong when we are weak. There is a season for everything. 

And the King of Kings came into this world as humble baby, wrapped in cloths for an impending burial, and laying in a manger…

I just want to say that I feel immeasurably blessed to have learned the greatest truth about life. That we lose when we gain. That my weakness, under the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, amounts to great strength and unprecedented life change. 

As Jesus was born into the lowliest of places, so he is born in me. I am His dwelling place. And in me, (and all who look to Him), He is birthing something new. For the first time in these last 15 months and 23 days, I can see the light at the edge of the horizon. I have been plunging East, refined in the fire of death, grief, and difficult steadfastness. As we celebrate Christ's birth, as my life remains surrendered into His most tender care, I am beginning to witness the sunrise, as it is just nigh approaching, as the glittering streams of brilliant light, the golden streaks and pink promises peek out above the dark shadow of the earth... 

Be born in me, my Savior, in the most lowly of places. In the place of humility, brokenness, mourning, and weakness, break forth like the dawn. For behold, You are doing a new thing. Will I not perceive it? You will make streams in the deserts and waters in the wilderness. You bring peace and order in my heart and life. You will break forth in glorious light upon this humble servant… 

Lead me, Father. Lead me in the Way Everlasting.