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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas Paradox

Sitting in church yesterday, listening to our pastor preach on "The Significance of Christmas," I realized something.

I'm having a difficult time because it's Christmas.

My lifeline to survive this time of year is the reality of Christmas.

The difficulties arise because of my personal traditions and memories surrounding Christmas. Americans put the emphasis on family. Well, my daughter is dead and my son has joined the Messianic tradition and no longer celebrates Christmas. That leaves Mom and me. Time after time, my mind scurries to Christmases past and things we did with Jolene. I ache. People keep wishing me a merry Christmas. I keep thinking (and sometimes saying), Lord, just let me survive.

But ... the hope I cling to? Emmanuel. God with us.

The far greater and longer lasting reality of Christmas is that God became man. The Bible says that because Jesus put on flesh, He can understand our frailties from the inside out. He has experienced everything we go through. In recent months, I have wondered if someone close to Jesus (other than Judas, of course) committed suicide.

The incarnation--the fancy word theologians use for the birth of Jesus Christ--is my ultimate lifeline. In that baby in the manger, I find hope, love, comfort--even, God willing, joy. Without that fact, the historical truth we celebrate at Christmas time, where would I turn as I struggle through this first year without Jolene?

Merry Christmas, everyone.

1 comment:

Jan Parrish said...

I have an idea, this year, in honor of Jolene, start a new tradition. Do something fun, just you and your mom. Celebrate with joy in her honor - you know her joy is complete now.
Do something completely different and start a new tradition.

At the same time, realize that this is the hardest one, your first Christmas without her. Allow yourself time to grieve but don't focus on it. Celebrate the time you have with your mom and make it meaningful.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. (((h)))