Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not the most wonderful time of the year

I really don't have time to write this but I need to.

I don't remember the date off the top of my head anymore, but I'll find myself edgy and on the verge of tears for part of a day and not entirely certain why.  And I find myself at the kitchen table - usually the same spot each time - glancing at the calender and....oh yes.  That's why.

The day the Lord said, "Not yet, dear daughter...this one needs to come back to Me."

I cried plenty but I don't really remember asking why. It was a long month. I let it take its course naturally.  I was glad it was Christmas because sometimes the glitter took away the weighty feelings.  But it was not the most wonderful time of the year.

Was it the most wonderful time when Jesus came?

Mary and Joseph weren't exactly traveling under grand circumstances, in posh accommodations.  An impromptu trip to his hometown under the edict of a ruler who simply wanted to count heads, probably leaving a scoffing pack of busybodies who cackled about Mary's "story," on the heels of what was undoubtedly an awkward Jewish wedding.

Who knows how Mary's contractions began, if her water broke while she was yet being hauled on a donkey, or what.  But I'm sure the scene wasn't nearly as pretty or clean as the nativity on my entertainment stand.

The coming of our Lord was humble and unassuming.  The circumstances alternately wonderful on the eternal side of things and not so much on this side of heaven.

This is not the most wonderful time of the year for many people. Three of my most memorable NICU losses happened at Christmas...sad memories for me but a black mark on the holidays for those families.

Yet - YET! - the very One whose birth we celebrate is the One who more than understands our rejection, disappointment, grief, name it.  He experienced it in spades and bore it and took it to the cross.  Willingly.  It is the most wonderful NEWS but it's not the most wonderful time of the year...

...unless you look at it from an eternal perspective.

...and turn off the radio station that's playing all the Falalalalala and turn on the one that's playing Joy to the World.

Dear, grieving or hurting or anxious friend, don't buy it.  Christmas isn't snow and cookies and presents and trees and lights.  It's a God who exchanged eternity for space and time and filled His lungs with the murky air we breathe.  The God who stood right by you when you lost your baby, watched your husband walk out, when you tossed aside your willpower and fed your addiction, when your finances collapsed.  Celebrate HIM.

...though he was in the form of God...made himself nothing...being born in the likeness of men...

Let every heart prepare him room