When the pressure built up this week and threatened to burst like the pipe that spewed water all over the bedroom floor causing an abrupt wake-up and a big mess that still sits drying…
I remembered it’s almost Christmas.
When the text says I hit a moose and all is well but there will be minor repairs to an already beat-up truck…
I wondered what else the week might bring.
When the crowds in the store were unfriendly…
When the temperature plummented in a snap…
When the meal plan fizzled to a fuzz as the groceries started to run low…
When the deposit didn’t get made and the grocery transaction wouldn’t go through…
When the dishes sat undone for days…
When the phone wouldn’t sleep and neither could I…
When the feelings of lonliness and isolation crept in like dark fingers of doubt gripping my spirit…
When the noise in my ears wouldn’t stop and the noise in my head was like clanging and the noise in my heart deafened…
I decided to just stand for a minute and give myself permission to be still.
To not swallow back the tears that burst forth unexpectedly like the pipe that blew up in my bedroom.
To let these hands that hold others and write the words and fold to pray just trembletrembletremble and wipe tears that ran like the river on my carpet the morning before.
And I thought this is what it’s like to not like Christmas.
And if four kids weren’t waiting for Mama I’d have gone straight to my bedroom, walked across the waterlogged floor, crawled up into my big warm bed and let the quilt my mama made settle over my body and wrap me up like a soft hug while the hushing ocean waves of rest would rock and lull me toward a quiet and gentle place.
That’s what I wanted to do.
But the four of them sat outside the bathroom, waiting in their coats for their mom who had planned this day with them, promised to take them Christmas shopping the day before Christmas Eve.
And the littlest, he’s learning Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee and he adores Jesus and he adores Beethoven and if I don’t show him joy even in dark times, he might confuse happiness and joy when he’s older and has dark times of his own.
And my girls…they learn how to be a woman by watching me and I teach them tears are a gift and that there is nothing shameful in their pure beauty, but I also teach them that we must always be careful with sadness and make sure we entrust the One who blessed us with the gift of tears to hold our sadness in His big strong hands lest it become too heavy for us to carry.
And my big boy, my little man…he’s a peace maker and heart pleaser and if he could he’d hold the pipe strong to keep it from bursting so his Mama wouldn’t have to walk through the mess.
There are wives spending their first Christmas without their beloved this year.
There are mothers wiping the ill white brow of their child who is tethered to a hospital bed.
There are folks whose smile comes from a place darker than mine and the carols play on and Christ the Savior was born.
So I wiped my eyes, coated the eyelashes with a bit more mascara, ran a brush through the overgrown mane and took a deep breath.
I let the shaking calm and I decide to let the big strong hands that have my name written across them hold me and hold the pressure and I get ready to take my babies to pick out some gifts for their loved ones.
Because still, He sent the baby.
And when town is like a three-ring circus but a little less organized and a lot more grumpy, I push the cart through the stress and I hide presents under coats in the buggy and I put my elves to helping Santa and I go through the motions and even though deep down I’d like to just cancel it all and treat it like just another day…I won’t.
Because still, He sent the baby.
Disease will cripple and depression will immobilize and joy will quiet and mountains will crumble.
The older I get, the more I understand how Christmas can be painful.
Friends will be fickle and jobs will be unstable and cancer will kill and wars will rage.
Hearts break and tears fall.
But there is joy that flows through the heart as the tears flow down the face and O’ Holy Night plays echoing in the chamber of the soul because we know it was a holy night and no matter how dark it gets there is light in our desiring for Him and our knowing Him and belonging to Him.
It was foretold from the start and light will always overcome darkness and unto us a child was born.
We may weep for the night…
He sent the baby.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel…For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 7:14, 9:6