And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NKJV)
For the first time in twenty two years, husband and I were kidless on Christmas Eve. Oldest son is still in Hawaii, and youngest went with his girlfriend to her family’s Christmas Eve gathering. We are enjoying this new stage of our life when we can be together without interruptions, without cutting up someone’s food, answering questions about why trees are green and not red or settling sibling fights. We can even sleep late on Christmas morning. Yet, I was feeling melancholy about the emptiness of our nest. There are no toys to put together this year. No gifts with a million pieces to cast from one end of our house to another. No presents to wrap as youngest son is only getting one gift, a lap top. The one stocking was easy to stuff, a few DVDs and some gift cards along with the traditional socks and underwear. I can even play Christmas carols with no interference. Yet, I felt sad. Then, I felt guilty for a friend’s son, age twenty, died of cancer on Christmas Eve morning. Who am I to complain about my loss when I can still pick up the phone and call my two boys? So, I was a bit emotional by the time we got to Christmas Eve service at church. There, I looked around the room and realized I was surrounded by family. Across the room were our friends, Penny and Rick, with their daughter and grandbaby, all dressed up in their Christmas finery. She caught my eye and winked at me. Penny can always make me smile. Up in the balcony, I saw Julie and her daughter. Old friends who I haven’t seen in a while. One by one, I counted the friends who are as close as family and felt my heart begin to open with the love surrounding me. If I hurt, they hurt. When I am joyful, so are they. A young man, who has been singing solos in our church since he was six, performed a beautiful stirring rendition of “O Holy Night,” my favorite Christmas carol. If I closed my eyes, I could see that little boy again. A dear friend who has battled the fear of public speaking gave the message in a clear strong voice. It was all about relationships. How Jesus came in human form in order that we might see God and know Him in an intimate, deep way as our Heavenly Father. He spoke about how the glory of God is all around us. We just need to open our eyes to it. Oldest son will return home eventually. In the same fashion, though my friend’s son died, she draws comfort in knowing that he still lives and she will see him again someday. It is all about relationships. On this Christmas Day, celebrate not only the family and friends you have here on this earth, but the God who loves you so much, He sent His Son to tell you so.