Merry Christmas

Tis the season.

When our kids are sick, we step into a coping mode that is, well, familiar.  We tell each other to rally because, "It's just a season." Yet when the co-captains are sick (as in Ralph or I), it's a game changer. It's been a long month - made especially long by Ralph's diagnosis of shingles - but we are stepping back into some normalcy again and getting our Christmas on.

With the introduction of Christmas stuff in the stores November 1, it would seem that our culture is creating a longer longing. Two months of decorations, Pinterest fails, and constant Christmas carols is enough to tire some of us out. It cannot be denied that this time of year, the concept of longing is heightened.  And like the kid that is waiting forever for the Advent calendar countdown, I long for a countdown to the end of difficult seasons and the beginning of awesomeness.

I long for more clarity and less uncertainty with my little family's future. I long for Rachel and Janneke to tell me with their words what they are feeling.  I long for joy to permeate my older girls' lives, that the anxieties Ralph and I carry won't seep into their own plans for the future.  I long for peace in relationships around me, that fractured friendships would heal.  I long for an end to cancer, that when parents bring their sick kid to the doctor, they'd be able to go home with a prescription for rest and vitamins - instead of a diagnosis and chemotherapy.  I long for... well, the list could go on.

I know there are things that happen that turn our lives upside down, and to say that it is just a season sometimes seems trite.  We might use the word season to describe a puppy's obsession with eating ping pong balls, but that word doesn't seem to completely fit with the bigger stuff.

And so, in this season of Advent, I hang onto the hope that some day things will be made whole and right again. Here, in this house, we have our longings, but in the meantime, our hope gives us gifts, glimpses of good that is happening while we wait.  And waiting doesn't mean wasting. Whatever is going on is forever shaping us, teaching us and others that good still can supersede the yuck.

So, 'tis the season.  Merry Christmas.  May your heart be encouraged by good stuff going on, and may the Peace that surpasses understanding ground your hope in what is to come.  Immanuel.

peace, joy, hope and love,