Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What an Aching Heart Can Do at Christmas





 
 
The day after Jeff slipped into eternity, Mom, Wayne, Mike and I went to the funeral home to buy a casket. Our hollow bodies walked through a showroom, and we searched for something simple and dignified. How could we possibly be doing this?

Mom, Wayne and I sat at a conference table making decisions. Mike, seated on the sofa along the wall just behind us, reached out and placed his strong, life-warm hand on my back to bolster me.

I shrugged and flung him off.

I couldn't afford to be bolstered. I had to hold myself together, not lean into him, or I would fall apart, break into a million pieces.

I haven't been that sad in a very long time.

But December collected one sadness after another like my Christmas tree collected gifts. Auntie Lynne left this earth and her cancer for Glory. Old friends buried their three-year-old grandson who died suddenly and quickly from an undiagnosed infection. Sandy Hook happened. My former sister-in-law will remarry, burying my last hope that there might have been reconciliation after all. My nephew's wife abandoned him on Christmas day for the lust of another.

This December, I yearned for a brand new Savior in a manger more than any year prior. My injured flesh and spirit need to eat the Hope in the feed trough, even in January.

December's sin, death, and sorrow, they point me to the manger as well as any star in the sky looking down where He lay.

I limp to the stable, bend beneath the pain, and celebrate. How could we possibly be doing this?

Celebration does not come naturally this year. I command it of myself because it is the fitting response to God now in flesh appearing. Bending before Him is always appropriate.

I feel His strong, life-warm hand on my back to bolster me. This time, I do lean. I lean into Him, and I let myself break into a million pieces.

I took the decorations down early this year; It hurt me to look at them. But I will be on my knees beside a manger for quite some time yet before I will be ready to rise. But rise I will, because a Baby in a manger came to put a million pieces back together again.

The righteous cry, and the Lord hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 34:17-19

Linking with The True Vine Challenge at Oikos, because sometimes abiding is all we can do.

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