Through the years we all will be together.
If the fates allow. (what?!)
Hang your shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.
Christmas is so different as grown-ups. I miss waiting at the top of the stairs, begging to go down to unwrap gifts that were a total surprise. And that glorious, big breakfast in our pj’s- where we would insist on singing “happy birthday” to Jesus. But most of all, I miss having my family together in one house. Oh, how I desperately yearn for that. I grieve that Christmas is so quiet, sitting in the house that was once filled with holiday joy and now misses the pieces of the puzzle. I find it so sad that we have an unspeakable grief as we descend the stairs on Christmas morning, and so cold and sterile to exchange gifts with my dad in the car instead of in front of the fireplace. It’s hard to live joyfully in the present holiday moment–there is always someone missing. I worry that my mom is home alone while we celebrate with my dad’s family, that my brother is in NYC eating take-out, that my dad is celebrating with a new family and might not be missing us as much as we are him. I’m still trying to get used to divorce.
As often happens when your world turns out different than you thought, I’ve found that my view of my Savior has changed. I need His birth, His presence, His freedom more. I’m so easily caught up in what my earthly family once was and the grief over what never will be again. And yet, when I sing the Christmas hymns now, I can’t help but have a visceral, knot-in-my-throat reaction to them. I haven’t been left to face this alone. It’s for me, imperfect and struggling in my broken world that He has come! Emmanuel: God with us.
Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, Oh Israel
Whether your holidays are filled with joyful family celebrations, homes that are too quiet or take-out dinners for one, my Christmas prayer for you is that you deeply understand the love of your Emmanuel. May we rejoice in that, my friends.