It's Christmas Eve night.
My house is quiet. Azlan is finally asleep after just returning from the ER for a rather terrifying asthma attack. Three full nebulizer treatments later, oral and inhaled steroids and we are home.
This year has been traumatic for our family. You know that.
But we are not the only family that has suffered this year.
There are so very many. So much sadness. So much pain. So much...loss.
Perhaps things have been 'merry and bright' all year long for your family, and if so, I'm sincerely glad. This post might not mean much to you, if that's the case.
For our family...? No.
In the quietness of this evening...by this beautiful tree, with the sound of my snoring kids sprawled around the living room tonight...I wonder.
Did it all happen? Is this really where we are? Is this truly our reality?
My head starts spinning. My heart beats much faster.
All of it.
Just a few days ago, I sat on the floor with one of my older kids. Holding hands, tears streaming down both of our faces, we promised to never ever stop fighting. He...with a deep feeling heart like his mama, had just said "I feel I just can't do this"...and I assured him I understood that completely. Yet his 'this' seems so manageable compared to mine.
It doesn't matter, does it? We all have a 'this'. And in that space...'this' feels too much. We can do anything...but 'this'.
My 'this' and yours this year, I could guarantee are very, very different.
Yet, our journeys have probably led us to a similar place. A place of brokenness. Hearts that feel they are half beating. Minds going non stop. Time in a noisy blur. Late night wide eyes as you question everything you once knew.
Somehow, days pass. Perhaps...miraculously. Days just keep passing. And what you didn't think you could do...you see that somehow...you have 'done'.
So many have whispered to us that time heals. Does it...?
In my story...I've seen that time can have the opposite effect. Time has deepened my pain. Time has made my vision more acute. Time has allowed the numbness to wear off. The shock of the horror of it all. With time passing...pain deepened. The awareness of where we are...and why.
For me? There's no comfort in time moving on. With our without my permission. No. Time won't heal my 'this'.
Tonight...I sit here, trying to imagine a world in all of it's stillness. Doubtedly December 24, but it was an evening. It was a 'night before'. It was a moment in time...right before everything changed.
What was the world like that night? Unaware...moving along...time racing at the very same speed as it is tonight. Oh...the night before.
It's easy for us to minimize what happened that day. A baby. Born to an unwed girl. "In a barn" as my 3 year old would say. But it was so much more.
That was the night that Hope was born.
Everything everyone longed for. The emptiness that people feel today going through the mundane...they felt then too. We were created for so much more.
As I sit here tonight...deep in thought about all we have miraculously survived...it's all because of Hope. My Hope that as anchored me in the greatest storm of all (my) time...is exactly what we are celebrating tonight.
Jesus came. He came.
He came. Heaven and Earth truly collided. Heaven chose to come down. And in that moment...Hope was born.
This Christmas, for many reasons, is deeply emotional for our family.
This Christmas, more than ever before...we celebrate Hope. That Jesus came...lived...and then chose the ultimate sacrifice. To die. To change our forever.
We can face our 'this'....our tomorrow...because Jesus lives. Because Hope came. Hope died. And Hope rose again.
For those of us that have shed tears this Christmas...I don't know your story. Mine isn't the same. But I, too, have sobbed leading up to this day. What do I even do with the old memories? My brain doesn't know what steps to take. Do we start new traditions? Do we carry on with the old? What...how...oh...WHY...?
Merry Christmas. May you find the courage to face your 'this' because of Him. And all of that started with Him coming to earth. One 'Christmas Day'.
This morning my friend asked me if I had heard this favorite song of hers. I just listened to it with chills. I wish I heard it weeks ago. It's perfect. For us and so many of you.