Christmas Day, December 25th
I stood on my favorite hilltop during my walk yesterday as tears flowed. We had so hoped to finally have our family reunited for Christmas after six years, to see our sons after more than two years. As we anticipated the joy, we were almost afraid to hope it could happen, as we had weathered several cancelations and disappointments in recent years. Our concerns proved true when we learned earlier this week that our reunion was not to be. Our hearts are broken, disappointed, and especially concerned for the ones who cannot be with us. My afternoon walk was a melancholy one.
This hilltop has become a sacred space for me, as it is the place where I pause to thank God for each new bonus day of life. Yesterday it proved to be the same, as I was surprised to find that my deep grief was accompanied by my deep gratitude. My tears opened the floodgates of emotion, as I cried for the ones we are missing for this time and cried for the ones I will continue to miss in this earthly life. But then I cried with such overwhelming thankfulness for two dear friends who came to stay, for all the people I have loved, and then for Love itself. I cried with sadness for the moments we are missing but also with appreciation for the precious ones we have enjoyed. I cried out of heartache and then cried that I am alive to experience the heartache.
Suddenly I was reminded of the most precious gift we have from God through Jesus. In this roller-coaster ride of life, with all of its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, anticipations and disappointments, love and loss, Jesus has come to live among and within us. He comes to bring us so much more to life, he makes life a rich and glorious journey, and he goes with us to bless every step of the way.
Yes, there is grief. But oh my, there is gratitude.
Christmas brings the sacred to the sadness,
the holy to the heartache.
Christmas is the meaning in the mess
and the mystery in the mourning.
Christmas is the inner peace amid the pain,
the eternal hope against the hurt,
the surprising joy along the journey.
Christmas is the vulnerable infant
born in humble surroundings,
God with us,
bringing grace, goodness, and gratitude
for every grief we bear.
Thank you, Jesus.
(Photo by Karen, Hurricane, WV)