Under the Wrapping

It’s a quiet winter day, and families are snuggled in to enjoy their favorite breakfast and watch the little ones open surprises cloaked in shimmering foils and patterns.  There’s a comfort in the warmth of a hot mug, and excitement in the day of celebration that lays ahead.


As for me, I’m up early to get ready, and waking the kids so we can spend time together before I leave for work.  Christmas needs paramedics just like any other day, and I’ve drawn the lucky straw for today.  
The morning is nice even hurried, and I relish the joy on the faces of my brood as they enjoy the gifts thoughtfully chosen for each of them.   They are left with long hugs and big kisses to be entertained by the new smell of their treasures.  
It’s a long and quiet drive on a bare road deserted for the warmth of home and family.  I have the radio turned to the Christmas music that has trailed joyous for weeks, and for some reason this morning it’s all the sentimental tunes with melancholy undertones that bring tears to my eyes.
All about my day there are “Merry Christmases,” and jolly hats, and baked goods, and lobbies boasting colors of the season.  I’m reflecting in my heart the gravity of this day for all creation, and quietly thanking for the rescue that it means, and the hope we received from this one little baby in the stable.

All this joy and celebration and quiet awe, and my heart is feeling heavy, feeling like that little-girl enchantment of this long awaited day has been rubbed away by the scraping of the hard sorrow that meets us in the corners of a broken world.  There is chatter of wanting a white Christmas, and I am thinking  to myself, “I would give up every white Christmas for a Christmas without cancer.”  There are couples arguing over splitting time evenly with the sets of parents, and I am thinking of Kara having whispered, pleading that she would get to be home with her family for Christmas, for any amount of time.  In the decked halls and the holly hung, I still meet faces that can’t enjoy the eating and the unwrapping and the telling of the ancient story, because they have to leave the glow of home for the sterile white of the hospital and the hopes of a remedy to soothe their broken bodies, broken souls.  I meet in the eyes of a sad-faced man the dashing of a silent night as he waits for the coroner to arrive.   I choke back my “Merry Christmas” and instead an “I’m sorry, so sorry it happened today.”

In the dark end of packing up my day, I drive weary to get home and spend the last hours with an angel food cake and a birthday song, and curling up with the little loves of my life to feel their sweet warmth,  watching those last few Christmas sparkles in their eyes as they nod into a satisfied sleep.  The traffic is thicker as the travelers leave their gatherings to return to their own homes to finish the night.  My radio still crackles low the carols of hope and new life, and the weight of the world breaks loose the dam that held my tears from the questions of those around me.  A cry for the loss of my innocence, of the knowing that even in the glimmer of a Christmas day, when all is celebration and family and gratefulness, that it’s still not fixed.  Hearts still break and pain still ravages, and families missing loved ones make the gatherings feel missing.  Then the radio is a deep lulling voice, and David Crowder is telling me to lay down my burdens and heartbreak; that Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.  And I know it’s for me, and it’s for all the hurting, that in each of our days where we fight to see grace and we beg for some mercy, we are one more closer to the healing that we reach for.  That one day, some day, Christmas will be all joy, and all newness, and all the glisten and gleam of the healing we got when that baby came here, right in the middle of our mess and braved the heartbreak Himself, will be the only thing on our minds on Christmas.

Shepherds’ Meal, Christmas Eve

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