Grief is a fickle thing. For the past few weeks I have felt the fog over mind and body lifting, at least at the corners. I still have some very dark days, but the light days have been brighter and more frequent. Then the holidays arrived.
A nebulous gloom began to fall once my house guests left after Thanksgiving. Then a strong sense of foreboding that the days ahead would challenge me as much as any I had yet experienced. The feeling proved true…as grief books predict, the holiday season IS hard. So many memories linger in the air, forever unfulfilled now in the present.
Last night, In the quiet of the moonless night, I tried to grasp hold of the meaning of Christmas outside of my self-centered world of loss. I thought of Mary Travis’ soulful rendition of “I Wonder as I Wander” and as the song suggested, I wandered my yard. In the extreme dark I could hear but not see deer, two owls “hoo-hooing” to each other, and a lost goose as it honked overhead. I pondered the King of the Universe who created and commands all things—”a star in the sky, a bird on the wing”—yet loved me enough to pave a way for me to enter His awesome presence. Tears streamed down my face as I wondered what I can give such a King who literally has everything he could possibly desire.
Then it came to me, the realization that in fact, He doesn’t have everything He desires. Because He desires a people to love and who will love Him (the whole reason for the incarnation), and all too often we forget, or turn our backs on Him. So out loud, amid the leafless oaks, the hooting owls, the bedding deer, the night sky, I said…”What do you want from me for Christmas, Lord?”
The answer came immediately. “A smile.”
In the midst of unrelenting grief, I determined to do just that…give God my smile for Christmas.
Merry Christmas, one and all! 🙂