This is my first Christmas.
It's my first Christmas in 25 years without my husband, it's my first Christmas as a single mom, and it's my first Christmas without my boobs. In some ways, this Christmas, for me, is about loss, which is odd, because Christmas is usually about gain. We gain "stuff" from the many generous folks who lavish us with love wrapped in paper and bows. (I am not being sarcastic here. I LOVE giving people things at Christmas as a tangible expression of how much they mean to me. It's cool.) We gain memories as we form new traditions and embellish old ones. We add photos to those scrapbooks. We gain a deeper knowledge, hopefully, of what it meant for God to send His only Son.
So, can a Christmas that's mostly about loss be a "good" Christmas?
I believe it can. A friend shared with me his thoughts about what it must have been like for Mary to receive the news that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Though Mary may not have grasped the magnitude of that proclamation at the time, it became clear as her boy grew. She would eventually lose Him. As she watched Him live, she knew He came to die. I have pondered these thoughts much as I parent my 17 year-old son. What would it be like for me to stand by Thomas as he lay down his life? It is overwhelming to consider. And yet Mary's response was, "May it be as you have said." Can I face loss with the same attitude?
I want THAT kind of faith. The kind that doesn't really understand it all, but knows that it's okay not to always understand. I do not understand why I was diagnosed with breast cancer, or why my husband was unfaithful. But I'm learning to navigate the losses. I am leaning on a strong God who is able.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will also lean on a strong God who is able. If you are experiencing loss this Christmas, lean harder. Joy is that thing, deep within, that has nothing to do with circumstance, but everything to do with this fact: He. Is. Able.
Merry Christmas, my dear friends and blog-followers. You mean the world to me.