Christmas and Grief
I have so appreciated some Christmas programs I’ve been to this year that have acknowledged that Christmas (and holidays in general) are not always “happy” for everyone. The program I saw tonight had a part about the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “Christmas Bells”; if you haven’t heard the story behind it, he wrote that at Christmastime after he had just learned that his son had been wounded in the Civil War. Tonight, we were reminded that some are dealing with lost jobs and financial hardship, regret, grief, or just disappointment with life in general. Some of us may not be able to say we are happy this Christmas, but with Christ we can say we have joy. Happiness is fleeting, but if we dig really deep we can always find some measure of joy in God and the hope we have in him. Someone at school told me that she noticed me smiling and laughing at our staff Christmas party Wednesday, and that she is so glad that I can do that. My only explanation for the fact that I am able to laugh is that God makes that possible.
December 8th marked two years since we last held our sweet Hannah Grace. As I’ve said before, sometimes it seems impossible that it’s been this long, and other times it seems that this has been the longest two years of my life. I miss her so much that it still physically hurts at times. Last Sunday, I took Caleb to a wind symphony concert… he all this sudden started looking up at me every few minutes and doing this whole closed-mouth sweet smile thing. It looked just like her- so much that it took my breath away for a second. It’s very uncanny how he can look and act so much like her at times. He also loves Disney movies; the other night he was singing to the song “Part of That World” (may not be exact title) from Little Mermaid. Hannah Grace had that entire song memorized and I can still hear her little voice… “You want thingamabobs? I got 20.” As the tears fell, I tried to be thankful that I had gotten to hear her sing that and that my mind has held on to it.
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!” (From “Christmas Bells”)
God is not deal and never sleeps… and he’s coming again. I’m so thankful for that this Christmas.