Tuesday, November 09, 2010


It's the official start of the Christmas season at our house! Saturday night Fred made the first fire in the woodstove and we all retreated to our cozy little room in the basement and watched Christmas videos. The girls chose "Santa Clause 2" and "Elf." Silly, funny movies that we have seen a dozen times yet they never grow old because they are part of our family's tradition. When we hear the familiar lines and music, it means Christmas is coming.

We needed this. After the foray into the medical world of uncertainty and fear, we needed familiarity and sameness. We needed each other. This is not a same-old, boring routine we do every year. We rejoice to do it all again! Another year of life! Another Christmas!

The best part of watching movies over and over again is that you can do other things and you won't miss the story. Liana had her Build-A-Bear toys out and she was lost in her own world with them. Arielle was making a Christmas craft, painting and decorating a wooden ornament. Fred was roasting hot dogs over the fire, and I was hand-sewing the binding on Liana's quilt. I'm amazed how working my fingers brings me peace. Generations of women before me have found this gentle rhythm relaxing, I'm sure.

Yet in the midst of our tranquil evening, I am not quite at rest. Two friends of mine are going through terrifying ordeals. One, a mom of two young girls, was just diagnosed with breast cancer. For another, her husband has a debilitating muscle or nerve disorder, and he is going downhill fast. Doctors can't figure out what is wrong, and this night she is at the hospital with him. So much pain and fear in this world. The carefully ordered lives we create for ourselves are often shaken apart.

Our pastor says we try so hard to get our kingdoms not to shake that we neglect the unshakable kingdom. We are to hold fast to Christ because everything else shakes, and all will be lost except what is tethered to God's grace in Christ.

My son Jonathan and I had a talk the other night about suffering in the world. He paraphrased the idea of this verse, and he is so right. "For I consider that the suffering of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18.

Scripture says all of creation, including us, groan inwardly as we wait for redemption and the end to the pain of this world. We can't even imagine what comes next. Our greatest earthly joys are only a hint of what is to come. In the meantime, "Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39.

So we live in the moment, trusting God, and thanking him for what we have.

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