There is a stocking hanging on my mantle that will not get filled this year.
There are presents I do not have to buy and secrets I do not have to keep.
There is an empty place at our table, an empty place in my heart.
Scattered spaces all around.
I miss my girl.
Mamas are the memory keepers, so I hold them close. I protect them. But lately I have kept the box locked up tightly so the sharp edges will not hurt so much.
A treasure box I am afraid to open.
When the contents spill out unexpectedly, there are smells and sights and feelings–both precious and grievous. Some days I cannot close it fast enough.
But some days I linger long. I sit with grief awhile. I let the warm tears fall.
Christmas carols play in the background, and it is surprising how somber they sound. Mournful even, and I suppose it should not surprise me. God in flesh–a glorious occasion and the beginning of salvation. But there is also a sober acknowledgement of betrayal and suffering and a cross to come.
It is humbling to think that the angels rejoiced. That God so willingly gave His most precious Son for us with hearts so unwilling to love Him.
It is an astounding choice, really. To choose suffering instead of comfort. A stable instead of a throne.
I have this new awareness of suffering, and it seems like there are aching hearts all around this year. There is truth in this suffering, and it can be the only truth you feel some days.
Those are the days when you cannot close the box. Those are the days the tears will fall.
The joy of Christmas would be a shallow happiness without the truth of a Savior’s death and resurrection. The sunrise would not be so glorious without the blackness of the night.
We experience sorrow, but we are waiting for joy. Death’s shadow cannot obliterate the rising light. Though tears may fall, a day of such gladness is coming.
Hold fast, friend. It is coming.
The deepest sorrow may be your truth this day, this year. But it is not the only truth. It is not the final truth.
Because of God and His amazing love. Because of His glorious sacrifice. Because of His willingness to come.
Because of Christmas.
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:77-79