Two years ago, shortly after having received the gift of Samuel into our lives, I wrote this post about the Christmas season.
I was all-too-familiar with the grief of shattered dreams and the longing for a child. While I am two years and two children beyond that post, I cannot forget
My heart is still tender when I think about a Christmas when another family member was expecting and I was not. I hadn't seen her since the announcement had been made and my stomach was churning.
I dreaded going to this event and had no idea how to acknowledge the news without breaking down in tears. I am pretty sure I mumbled a quiet, "Congratulations," and moved on my way.
I know my family member doesn't remember it, but I cannot forget it.
Because often times the holiday season magnifies what others have and what we do not. I think of my best friend's mother-in-law who faces this Christmas season without her husband for the first time. Oh how her heart must ache as she sees couples walking hand in hand as they shop, go out to eat and go to Christmas parties together.
I think of my sister-in-law's dear friend who faces her sixth Christmas with her husband but their arms ache for their two babies lost to miscarriage. They do not have a little one to hold again this Christmas.
I think of those I know who long to celebrate this season with a new love. Someone to share their heart and life with. And yet, for some unknown reason, they haven't yet met that person. And so they avoid the Christmas party because they don't have a date or they come home from Christmas to an empty house...and they wonder what it's like to share 'the most wonderful time of the year' with someone they love.
I think of a friend who lost her dad this year and another friend who will likely face the same loss of her father this coming year. In their families, beneath the joy and the Christmas celebrating, lies heartache and pain.
Looking back on that Christmas when my heart was ready to explode with grief and longing, here's what I would say to myself:
Don't hide the pain. Don't pretend everything is OK if it's not. You might be someone who loves Jesus and yet your drowning in a sea of pain. It's hard to share, but it's even harder to hide it and just smile and pretend. Choose wisely who you share with. Or, if you decide not to share with others, go to the healer of hearts and pour out your pain to Him. That's why He came to earth. That's why we celebrate this season.
Don't look around, look up. Because if you look around you'll see the pregnant mom, you'll see the young engaged couple, you'll see the new baby, you'll see the elderly couple strolling hand in hand and you quickly suck in your breathe and think to yourself, "I got the short-end of the stick. Life wasn't suppose to turn out this way." And the tears cannot be stopped. But when you look up, you see the stars in the sky that led the Wise men to a manger. And in that manger lies the reason we celebrate.
Choose to praise God every day this month for the miraculous gift of His son. Choose to read the Christmas story in Luke 2 every day until Christmas. Ponder what it was like for Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, the Wise men, the angels. God could have brought his son into this world through an intellectual, wealthy, well-known family. Instead He chose an unwed, teenage girl who delivered her baby in a stable. God does not make mistakes. He didn't make a mistake choosing Mary and He's not making a mistake with you this Christmas. Choose to see the miracle of Christmas and praise God for it.
If this Christmas season is a hard one for you, I would consider it a privilege to pray for you every day until Christmas. You do not have to tell me your name or why this season is a difficult one. But I commit to praying and asking God to meet you in a very real way this Christmas.