The house is quiet this morning. The kids are still asleep, the dishwasher hums in the background, and I am sipping my coffee.
It's Christmas Eve.
My heart is full, but in a different way than it normally is. There's the excitement of watching my kids enjoy the season. There's gratitude for the reason behind this holiday, in Christ becoming an humble man in order to save my imperfect soul. And this year there is great sadness in my heat as well. Great sadness and grief, and this is the first Christmas of my life in which I've experienced such emotions.
A holiday that is built around love and family and happiness and togetherness means something different to me this year.
I keep trying to go back to last Christmas in my mind, trying to remember what we did and what made it uniquely it's own. But the details are fuzzy, and that makes me even more sad. I can't remember how she fit into the picture last year other than what she wrapped up in a box and gave to me and what we ate for dinner when we had our holiday get together. And that makes me sad.
I had suspicions it could be our last Christmas with her, but didn't really know. Would it have been better to know for sure? I don't know.
And now I see Christmas so differently than I ever have before. I think about all the people all over this country who have sadness in their hearts during this season because of the losses they have suffered. I think about how difficult it is for them to function during this time.
Dear Lord... I thank you for the precious gift of Jesus Christ you gave to all the world in order that we may experience Your love and grace... I thank you, Jesus, for lowering yourself to earth and suffering so that I may know eternal life... I come to you on behalf of those hurting this holiday season, those whom are lonely and grieving, those who may not be feeling the spirit of Christmas. I pray that each one will feel Your love and mercy and peace wrapped around them in a special and real way this year. I pray in your name... Amen.