Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The ghost of Christmas past...

I was visited by the ghost of Christmas past on Sunday.

I hit the rewind button on Sunday morning as I sat down to put my makeup on for the day at my mom and dad's house celebrating Christmas with my two brothers and their whole families. I was so excited for us all to be together. It usually only happens once a year, but there have been several years that one or two of us couldn't make it, and this year promised all Tew-related folks to be present.

A year ago... a year ago. My mom had just been to the doctor, and we had been informed that her cancer had returned. It wasn't common knowledge, though. We had decided to wait until we had all the test results before sharing the information with any and all. So it was this weight in my soul, on my heart, on top of my shoulders, and in the very tips of my toes. My mom's cancer permeated every fiber of my being and thought. A year ago, I couldn't help but look forward in terms of her illness. What would the next Christmas look like? Would she be well? Have hair? Be able to fret about and prepare the meal as she enjoys so much? In the inner most part of me was the most awful question of all, one I dared not utter aloud, but pondered it in silence instead... would she still be here next Christmas? I'd be lying if I told you her leaving me never crossed my mind. The fear of and the pain in asking myself that question forced me to put it in the back of my mind, but it emerged from the dark corners every now and again haunting me like the ghost of Christmas future.

Last Christmas... I wouldn't relive it for the world. Even though in my home it was the best Christmas yet. My children had one of the best years they had ever had. The excitement level was off the meter, but the stress in my heart was unbearable. My mother was sick again, though she didn't look sick or act sick. The cancer was back, and it was threatening more than just her life. It was threatening my ability to live in the moment, to appreciate the present day.
This year, the joy bubbles over in my heart. My mom is still here. She's still alive, here to enjoy another Christmas. She still has all her hair, was still able to fry the bacon for our brunch, was still able to do all she wanted to do. By the lovely grace of God, my mother is still here. He is amazing.

This Christmas, I want to live in the present. In the today. Not in what may be next year or what was last year. In the now. In the beautiful gift of life we have all been given. It's more than just my mom... it's my two beautiful, healthy children, it's the miracle if life growing inside my best friend's womb, it's another year of marriage with my husband, it's one more smile from my aging grandparents. God's grace and mercy and blessings that He's spread across my life never cease to amaze me. Perhaps I am more aware of them here lately than I have ever been in my life.

So here's my Christmas verse for all who are reading this post...
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3: 22-23

His love. His compassions. His faithfulness. They are perfect. They are just what I need in the moment. They never fail. And today, I praise Him for His blessings on my life. And I want to live in them today knowing full well all I have is this one day. No need to worry about tomorrow or yesterday, either. Just today.

Merry Christmas friends!