We wanted to come up with a tagline for our Christmas this year. With everyone home, the house bursting at the seams with people, laughter, games and drama, we needed a title for the memory.
Rogers’ epic Christmas. Celebrating tradition in grandeur and scope.
It’s been non-stop motion and talk. Noise levels that have kept babies awake and people talking louder to be heard. Sharing of ideas, sharing of food, sharing of time and compassion. Sharing family, with all its glitter and glam and warts.
It was the year of new Christmas stockings. 17 of them. The old ones have gotten lost over the years. New ones have been added. John and I laughed as we matched stocking insides with names on the outside. More socks and underwear than you could imagine.
We followed through on an old tradition: Slurpees on Christmas Eve, because the only freeze anyone gets in Florida is a brain freeze. We added a new tradition: Family soccer the day after Christmas at a local indoor facility. Seeing that competition is a genetic predisposition–the grandkids are intense.Recognizing that when you lie down with dogs, you wake up itching–all the spouses are just as competitive.
It was a highlight of sibling interaction. They enjoy each other, so conversations were happening all over the house. Wherever folks could find floor space and a little focus time.
But for all the fun experienced in our home, I’ve been acutely aware of the grief and loss that is being experienced in many homes.
My friend, Rhonda, went home to be with the Lord several days before Christmas. Leaving behind a well-loved and deeply grieving husband and two daughters. My neighbor’s mom is in hospice after a tragic accident at the facility she lives in. I know of families where jobs have been lost and questions of how to pay bills become tantamount. Families where children aren’t present–because they can’t, due to jobs, or don’t want to be home due to choices. Where people are unsure of tomorrow because today feels so miserably insecure.
It’s easy for me to feel guilty that things are going so well for us. Now. Today feels safe. My family is fine.
Like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
But I’m aware that God knows these things about each of us. That He’s not blessing me while ignoring others. Times of pain ebb and flow in a broken world. For all of us. But He’s provided for each of us in a way that speaks to the needs of our hearts.
“Father to the fatherless, Defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.” Psalm 68:5-6a
God alone can assuage the pain of loss and grief. He alone can calm a heart and bring peace to the despairing. Those words come easily, but I’ve experienced their reality. He knows our life situations and wants to build bridges from our internal pain to His eternal peace.
That’s a tradition worth celebrating.