This Christmas

A little less than two years ago, I watched a young mother place her new baby in the arms of another. Not temporarily, but for a lifetime. The grief, I thought. The longing and yearning, the sacrifice, the life of disconnect willingly suffered so that the child could have more, so that the child could have a life not granted in that time by the mother who bore her. I was out of town, so I sat in my sister’s house watching unconditional love unfold on an iPad screen. And I thought then as I think now that God the Father must have grieved the day Christ the Son made his debut on earth. The longing and yearning, the sacrifice, the life of disconnect willingly suffered so that this child (me) could have more, so that this child could have a life not granted by my own self in any time.

Christmas is different for us this year because of our sensitivity to life’s brief nature. It is different because we ask ourselves questions like, “Will this be our last Christmas with our husband/ daddy/ friend?”  It’s liberating, really, walking so near death. We know we only have so much time in this life, so we love bigger. We love more relentlessly. We love with more hope and grace. We love unceasingly because we know we are loved unceasingly. Love without end beget sacrifice without hesitation. Willingly, Father sacrificed Son. Willingly, Father mourned the loss and suffered as He watched His child grow up without Him. Willingly, He sent His child to experience a temporary life and a gruesome death. Willingly, He sent and willingly Christ came.

This is Christmas. The grief and the glory all wrapped into one dirty, brilliant moment: Christ the King’s arrival here on earth. The Hope for all mankind, intentionally handed over like a mother placing her child in the arms of another. The Father knew the cost. He knew the pain. He suffered the loss. He grieved, not the unknowns as we do, but the knowns of a life lived well by His Son in order to die exceptionally for the sake of His not-yet-adopted sons and daughters to come. This is Christmas. The despair and the hope all wrapped into one dirty, brilliant moment: Christ the King’s death here on earth.    His human life began in a filthy stable and ended on a filthier cross. His Father watched it all, and He grieved. The longing and yearning to rescue his child, the sacrifice, the moment when purity became sin-filled and disconnect was willingly suffered on behalf of the very people who loathed Him so. Christmas. When long-prophesied, long-awaited salvation was born into our squalor to die in our condemnation, so that we could be reconciled to His Father who sacrificed His most precious thing, His son- a part of Himself-for our good and His glory. Christmas.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

-Jesse is completely weaned off of the steroids!! So grateful! Please continue to pray for his body to regulate itself in the days and weeks ahead. We are learning that long term steroid use causes lots of damage to the body, and we have a long road of recovery ahead of us just in that one area. His speech has slipped a good bit since stopping the steroids as well, which we expected. Prayers for a much faster than anticipated recovery of speech are much appreciated! Now, on to the really good news! 😉

-His recent scans look markedly better, though we won’t have conclusive results for some time. He has a center line in his brain now, which is hugely encouraging! We haven’t seen that in months! We’re set to have more scans in January to do another comparison of the tumor. We are still and always praying for the kind of healing that can only be explained by the work of God’s own hands, and friends, we are seeing that happen with each appointment and each scan. God is still very much at work in this, and we are still grateful to be used by Him in whatever ways He chooses.

-Merry Christmas, friends! We are praying over each of you, asking the Lord to reveal Himself to you in ways that speak to your hearts and spur you on toward living your lives serving Jesus. He is worthy of your trust!