December Pains and Prayers
So much heartache right now in the lives of people I know.
I wonder why I’m so lucky to have 3 perfectly healthy children. Why I’ve been spared the loss so many mother’s face? How I’m supposed to go to sleep after too many pieces of sadness today?
I can hear the cold rain softly hitting the windows as I walk through the kitchen.
It’s 10 days till Christmas.
As I enter the living room it looks different than when I left it 5 minutes ago. Instead of the piles of laundry and toys.. the books and papers on the end table.. a stack of movies near the tv stand….. My eyes start elsewhere. Instead of the messes and the disdain with which I left this room a short while ago, my eyes fix on the tree. The lights are bright and the ornaments personal. Each one a gift or a memento. My kiddos put them on last weekend and under the guidance and direction of oldest, they look pretty good. A few branches bundled with multiple ornaments remind me that a 4 year old was involved. I smile.
Now as I look around the room, the mess is a minor detail. I’m drawn to sit down and breathe in the peace and comfort of my home as we inch closer and closer to the height of the holiday season.
As of this moment, my girls will be giddy to dress up in their new holiday attire. They will be planning hair-do’s and making Christmas cards.
As of this moment, a birthday party is planned in the coming days for our Christmas baby. Now almost 11 and beautiful in every way, she’s constantly teaching me something new about life.
As of this moment, I can know with confidence that my 7 year old’s personality will liven-up every room she enters this season. Her humor and wit will become this year’s holiday folklore, just like every other year.
As of this moment, my baby boy is growing again. His face is changing and he’s snooping around the Christmas gifts and pushing his sisters to the edge of themselves. And he has me wrapped around his finger, as I desperately hold on to the little bit of little left in him.
The rain stops for now. I wonder if we’ll have snow for Christmas day. I remember looking out the window and seeing the snow coming down gently after Sophie was finally delivered and the room was calm.
All of this could change at any moment. None of it is guaranteed for my Christmas season. No matter how lovely or logical or how much it feels like it’s meant to be – there is no such thing as a sure thing.
That’s not the kind of world we live in.
My heater kicks on and I thank God, again, for a furnace and a warm house. There are so many people to pray for and I hadn’t even gotten to the cold and hungry in my prayers today.
I can’t keep up.
I know this is depressing, but it’s me taking note of the fact that plenty of people are struggling to embrace the Christmas joy that comes so easily to some of us. I’m looking around and I know people who are dreading Christmas morning. I can’t help but think of my mom 30 years ago when one week before Christmas, her dad was killed in a tragic accident.
How does one survive a Christmas like that?
And I know that Christmas was hell.
And I know theirs isn’t the only tragedy this time of year.
And I know I need to just sit here in my messy living room next to my Christmas tree and say as many prayers as I can for the hurting hearts.
And I ask God to hold me tightly as we stumble through the next few weeks.
Not being thankful enough. Not being mindful enough. Not fully understanding the gifts we will receive.
I will try to breathe deep.
The rain blows against my window as the wind picks up.
I bow my head and pray for the tearful.