Along about this time of year — when joy and goodwill exude from the masses…shopping carts are filled, Christmas cards are written, Menus are planned, Christmas Trees are dressed in their finest, and packages wrapped with love are placed under them — my heart “catches.”
Oh, I do get lost in the magic of Christmas — I adore the reasons we celebrate in the first place ~Jesus~ and I love to watch my son get caught up in the decorating and lights. His requests for favorite dishes never escape my notice and well, the glimmer in his eye captures my heart!
However, a tsunami of grief breaks over my soul and a deep longing settles within me. I became a bit more acutely aware of that grief today when I was messaging with my friend, Shelby, in Virginia. We were sharing our Thanksgiving plans and the putting up of Christmas Trees — admittedly what is supposed to be a joyful conversation — but for both of us it turned into tears.
For Shelby and me, our parents have passed away. We reminisced on how our Momma’s would put into our stocking an Orange, an Apple, some Walnuts, and for me a big Candy Cane….there were other little things, but that’s what Shelby and I have in common…two Virginia girls whose Momma’s loved a similar way. The specialness of what was is now gone and we are grown and we have our own children and grandchildren to share all that love with during this Season of rejoicing over family.
How, though, do we package the grief — the loss? As the tears flood in, I must confess that I haven’t quite figured that part out. God sewed into my life such sweet and kindred relationship with my parents — a tenderness not found in another soul or relationship. He wove a lifetime of memories and experiences that cannot be replaced — mimicked, yes — not replaced. Parents are afforded a unique relationship with their children — it is honestly irreplaceable.
Shelby said, “Oh, I didn’t mean to make you cry!” Oh, she didn’t make me cry at all — the truth is that I was on the precipice of tears for days. She only identified with my soul — God allows people to do that — so we have Christ-like relationships in good friends…sisters — we reflected what was in our hearts —- grief, joy, and Jesus!
I think we can both say, with the same assurance of Job:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21 NASB)
It’s not easy to say goodbye — its difficult to journey on without those familiar, kindred spirits when the aromas and sounds and laughter invade the home — but we must — for our good and for His glory!
~Soli Deo Gloria