December, as it Happens

This month I have been a pen out of ink. I scratched a few paragraphs now and then, deleted the whole works, or left them to moulder in the drafts folder. Even the annual Christmas letter was a chore. I like pens that glide along smoothly without sputters and skips. Anything else is insufferable! So I can only thank the Lord that blogging is for writing when you enjoy it and that I have never imposed deadlines on myself.

All this time I was out of Earl Grey, folks. Two weeks in a row I forgot to go to the tea aisle in the grocery store. I drank coffee, which is a satisfying experience all its own, but sometimes a girl wants. just. tea! I have a whole shelf of boxes of other teas. My husband likes variety, and so does Gregory, my little tea drinking buddy. On Monday morning I was reading in the quiet when I heard Greg stirring around in the kitchen. To my surprise he brought me the steaming mug he had been concocting according to his Greg Standard of Perfect Tea. It was so liberally adorned with cream and sugar as to hardly be recognizable as tea. Later I saw that he had served me detox tea, which struck me as extremely funny, taking into consideration all the “bad stuff” he dumped into it. I walked over to my grocery list and I wrote it down nice and bold: EARL GREY. This week I bought a ginormous box, inhaled deeply the intoxicating scent of Bergamot oil, and was happy.

It is such a joyful season, yet I found myself praying, yearning with my heart in my throat for days as I followed the story of a family who was keeping vigil around a gunshot victim in the hospital. Yesterday he died. As I was wrapping a few small gifts, I kept thinking about what a sad, sad Christmas this will be for that family and for his friends. It took me back five Decembers when a beloved friend of mine, the wife of my cousin, lay on life support in a hospital. Her transport to glory left me with the anguished question, “Why? There are six little children here, Lord! Couldn’t you see that?” I have never faced a more severe attack on my faith. As the questions poured out, I received the beautiful assurance of the solid fact that Jesus is Emmanuel: God with us. Here in our mess and our hurt and our confusion, He is Prince of Peace. He came to give life, if we can only see that the passing of His friends is the ultimate giving of LIFE. I have seen the triumph of those who embrace this truth, who refuse to let it go in the midst of the most painful times imaginable.

He is with us! “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) That is all we need to know, really. There is a sturdy quality to such faith that confounds even the staunchest unbelievers. I hear my little girl singing her version of a children’s song: “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy… down in the guts of my heart!” Her siblings say, “Depths, not guts!” but she is sticking to her version. It reminds me that faith touches us in the visceral regions where logic and reason are no comfort at all. I see the impossible joy and peace blanket the soul and I say,

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  

8 thoughts on “December, as it Happens

  1. As the sister of your dear friend,this is brought tears to my eyes…those 5years seem like just yesterday sometimes and other days it seems like an eternity. Thanks for this…it was just what I needed.

    1. I know, Viola. I still go through times of missing her intensely, but I am sure not to the extent her family does. God has been so incredibly faithful to her family that the raw pain is lessened. Hugs!

  2. I have been keeping vigil with you and the Kauffmans as well… My emotions have been on such a roller coaster with the joy of our daughter’s birth (see my blogspot for pictures) and the sorrow of Marco’s passing. In some ways it seems ironic to turn to God in times of tragedy (afterall, He could have prevented this, eh?) BUT… what are our options?- Where else would we turn? So I am thankful for God, the Alpha and Omega, Emmanuel.

  3. I’m glad your ink returned. Mine has been dry too. Or busy elsewhere. I canNOT get inspired for Christmas letters either. They have gone on the New Year shelf, sadly.

    I’ve been following the Kauffman story as well. So, so much sadness. And I’m sorry for your loss and can identify with the questions. I’m still asking some of them in relation to losses like that and a few more personal ones. But I do love your words. When my brother died and I was grappling with a few thin threads of faith, Dan told me once that the loss we feel can also be celebrated as a gain because my brother is now home with Jesus, the ultimate goal for all of us.

    Wishing you a peaceful December, with joy to the depths of your guts. 🙂

  4. My inkwell is dry. But this post was fitting and put into words some of the feelings that have been boiling around my brain lately. I don’t really have anything fancy to say.

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