Hoping When the Lines Between Weeping and Rejoicing are Blurred
Days cut deeply in December. The darkness of night claims more our of waking hours than the sun. Even in Hawaii. Lights twinkle on the tree and Christmas cards hang from garland. I cried when I opened the first two I received. One bore the dreaded folded flag in the arms of a mother surrounded by her children. Another bore the name of a child whose lungs gave out only a few hours after birth. Both wished me a, “Merry Christmas.”
My own pain, the lack of baby in my arms, is highlighted as I focus on the manger. It mingles with the joy that flows from the season. But there is also the joy of life popping up all around me.
Last week, my brother sent me the first ultrasound photo of his first born child, my parents’ first grandchild. My heart filled at the news just as it had the day his wife shared the news with me after taking the pregnancy test while visiting a few weeks ago. The next morning, another relative texted to tell us that our family was growing again. And we rejoiced. And then we cried.
We love each and every one of the little people in our lives. And we wish there were some sleeping down the hall in a cradle.
Christmas reaches the depth of this pain because Christ reaches the depths of our hearts. We can rejoice even through our tears because we know the ending. The same God who became incarnate in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. In the midst of the un-rightness of our lives, we can stop, if only for a season, to stare at a manger, and to remember that God laid His head in a feeding trough. And that un-rightness, means that all things will be made right.