Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Hard Gifts

"The hard gifts will be for good. The good gifts will be forever. 
And the best gifts will be forthcoming." 
~Ann Voskamp

Our Christmas morning has come and gone. Emma's presents have been opened and my apartment smells of fresh coffee and the faint scent of the omelets that filled our tummies for Christmas breakfast. Early this morning, her dad came to whisk her away to the first of the many family functions she will experience today, and now I am left all alone in this empty apartment starring at the Christmas lights on my tree, and listening to the rinse cycle on my washing machine that is washing brand new towels.

As I look around, there is wrapping paper and empty boxes all over my living room floor, dishes that need to be washed, and brand new toys which came with tiny little pieces that I'm sure will turn up missing in a matter of days that are strewn throughout the house. I know that I am blessed because my morning was full of the joy of these things, but now in the quiet I find myself clinging to these blessings instead of the sorrow that is trying to overtake my heart.

Despite how difficult today is, Christmas is still a joyful time. Trust me, NOTHING makes my heart feel more content than waking up to the look on her face as she excitedly exclaimed, "Mommy, Santa came!", or watching the happiness fill her eyes as she unwrapped each one of her gifts. This mess I am going to will myself to clean up in a few minutes is truly a wonderful mess, because it's HER mess. And I know that the brief moments together which will make up our day are reminders that despite the fact that this is the first Christmas I will not get to spend the entire day with her, this day is still an amazing gift regardless of how hard it is.

Yes, today will be full of hard gifts: a Christmas morning that could not be spent as a family, the brief interlude of breakfast and chatter about her presents before it was time to get dressed and ready for a very busy day, and the shuffling that will come from family to family. These moments-no matter how difficult-are still gifts, and I know that somehow He will work these gifts for the better. He will give us the peace and strength we need to get through this Christmas and Christmases to come. He will provide us with smiles and Christmas well wishes even when our hearts aren't feeling very joyful. He will give us rest and He will use this day to remind us of the day that He gave us the hardest gift of all-His one and only Son. A beloved Child sent as a tiny baby to rescue a world so undeserving and drowning in darkness. My heart may be breaking today, but I know it doesn't compare to the pain God felt the day Jesus was born.

Just as His hard gift resulted in the plan of salvation for the entire world, my hard gifts will work to prepare me for the plans that He has for my life. Today I am claiming His promise that ALL things work together for good, and I am relying on Him to guide me. I know these moments will get easier, and I know that eventually this mess will make sense. But, for now-for today-I am going to do my best to enjoy the quiet of my little apartment and focus on all of my blessings-even the hardest ones- that are only here because of His grace.

Merry Christmas to you all.

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