Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Candles, lights and bits of sweet sadness......For me Christmas comes in many shades of emotions, all of which are neither good nor bad but simply what is part of where I've been and where I am. As I have aged I have experienced more of life in all of its expressions; from loss to great joy and all that lies in between.
Every morning during this Christmas or Advent season I have had "coffee with God" by the gas stove with the light of the Christmas tree and soft quiet carols playing. I have prayed and I have been quiet. In the quiet my heart fills with many things. One of those things have been memories that hold bits of sadness and bits of joy. The sadness comes as I remember and for lack of better words, am visited by those who are no longer on this earth.
Daddy comes.....he was never big on Christmas but he was there to make sure we had coined ham ( I still am not sure what a coined ham is or even if I have spelled it correctly but it was good) or pre-tasting the food or just sitting at his place at the table.
My grandparents and special great aunts come. They loved so to laugh and loved to eat and loved to tease and joke around but most of all they loved to be together for Christmas.
Megan, my niece comes most often. She is the one that brings such a sweet sweet sadness. She was only 24 when she passed from this world. The last Christmas I had with her Jon and I surprised her with the pink sweater that she wanted. I had seen her look at it in Wilmington when we visited her. She looked across at me with acknowledgement and a smile that she knew that I had seen her with that sweater. The sweetness with the visits of memory is that I was privileged to know and love Megan. But the deep soul sadness is that I no longer can buy her a present. Tears come. Jesus comes. And I know within, that both Jesus and I share those same moments of love and memories that I have of her. The difference is that He knows her still and holds all that she was and is. I could never have that knowledge. The difference is that He has always loved her and does still and as much as I loved her, I could never love her like He does.
Friend, do not think that I write of a sadness that is despairing! No, I write of sweet sadness. It is born of love and joy that I have had the wonderful opportunity to know and love all of those who have left my life for but a moment. I would never ever trade a single tear for the not-knowing of all these who have come to me in silence along with the presence of the Holy Spirit. I rejoice that I have been so blessed to know so many, to love so many, to miss so many!
"For behold I bring you news of great joy which shall be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." the angel of the Lord. So God bless you my friend, If you too know a little sweet sadness. It is His coming that allows us to love deeply and to know the great joy as well as the sweet sadness that accompanies such love.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas........I have always said that for me Christmas comes in moments throughout the Advent or Christmas season if you just keep your heart open to hear, to see, to listen. Such a moment took hold of me, if you will, in exquisite awareness just last evening.
Jon, Joshua, and I were invited to a movie and to dinner with dear friends and fellow sojourners for Christ. After the movie we took the snowy wintery drive up to their house with lighted trees along the way flocked by God's own doing. We were greeted in their beautiful home with decorations, music, the smell of food and the sounds of friends gathered.
Then we came together at the table to share the evening meal. Jon was asked to lead the blessing and we all held hands around the table. But there was a wonderful miracle among us already! Our host was and is by the hand of God a survivor of leukemia and the accompaning stem cell transplant received from a 20 some year old who cared enough to be a donor. He has celebrated his one year survivor and keeper of his new stem cells. As Jon prayed about welcoming the Christ Child and about continued well being as well as blessing the food and those less fortunate, I was filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit speaking "Christmas" into my soul. In that moment it was Christmas. We stood before our Lord around a table ever mindful that life is a gift; life in Him is the greatest of all gifts.
It was a quiet moment. It was a full moment. It was a moment of Emanuel, God with us! Such moments once a part of us is always a part of us enriching our hearts and turning us toward Him. So as the old hymn prays forth, "O come, O come Emanuel," I pray let it be so in my life! And may all of us have many "Christmas" moments during this holy season.