Monday, December 16, 2013

Miracles of Christmas. Yes, please.

My hubby is out of town and a dog with some strange gastro-issues kept me up half the night last night.  I will yawn all day and may require more than my standard two cups of coffee...but I won't be upset. I really believe poor Pluto's tummy trouble was God-ordained. 

As I struggled to fall back asleep the second time, I reached for my phone and clicked on Facebook. (Mindless scrolling can usually make me tired enough to drift off again.) But last night (or early this morning), there were two urgent requests for prayer. I was able to use the quiet of the wee hours of morning, to pray mightily for my friends.

My heart is heavy yet with the hurting, the sick, the ones fighting such enormous battles. I can hear Annelle from Steel Magnolias in my head describing her faith during the scene where the women are gathered around M'lynn after Shelby's death (Really, if ya'll can't conjure that scene from memory right here on the spot, you should come on over and we'll watch SM a few times this morning!). Annelle says Shelby just wanted to protect everyone she loves and it is easier to do it in Heaven. She goes on to say that may sound simple, or stupid, but it is what gets her through times like this.

I'd love to identify with the more sophisticated characters in that movie, but Annelle nails it for me. (And now I hear her saying, "I will not let my personal tragedy interfere with my ability to do good hair." Oh I love that movie!) 

See, my go-to reaction in times of crisis often seems simple -- possibly stupid to some people, even. I need to cry out to Jesus. I need to feel the peace that only He can offer. But it is also my nature to want to help, to fix the pain for others, to remove it. And yet, words are inadequate. Completely inadequate.

I didn't mean to include this photo but when I accidentally clicked it, it started snowing...and I have no idea how that happened! (Little Red thinks I should click outside our desert-facing window!!)  It seems appropriate since that photo was taken in Minnesota and I am fairly certain it snowed every day for five years! :)

When my Dad was first diagnosed with cancer, some of my brothers' young friends came to visit. They were awkward, shuffling their feet and eager to exit. They just had no idea what to say to their teenager friends who were struggling under the weight of their father's very serious diagnosis. Young Talley looked at me and said, "When this is over, I will be better at comforting others. I will know what to say." And he looked at me with hopeful eyes as I shook my head no and asked him, "What could anyone say to us to make this better?" And we both cried. (Ok, I cried. Tal was a tough teenage male...he probably didn't cry.)

My point is: there are no words. There is no way for me as a human being to fix it for my loved ones when they face the hardest roads imaginable. I can not love them or hug them enough to heal their children, mend the longing for health, or stitch their broken hearts. I am helpless. And this morning, I am aching with the frustration of that inability.

And so I sit here and I am trying to get my mind on something else. I scrolled some blogs and came across this tour of homes for bloggers. It is lovely and something that really is fun, I know it is. But today, I was frustrated by the fact that the bloggers were only showing little vignettes of their homes and I couldn't see the whole picture. Everything looked perfect, beautiful, photo-worthy. And I was struck by the fact that the first Christmas was far from photo-worthy. It was smelly and messy and unkempt.

Baby Jesus was born in a stable without decorations, without pretense, without any idyllic-Norman Rockwell circumstances.

And the the mission of that little baby born in a stable 2000 plus years ago was to show us the power of healing. He came to bear the weight of all the sins of this world for us.

He healed the sick. He made the lame walk (All those kids with Cerebral Palsy!). And the blind to see.

And yet, he said the real miracle was that by faith in HIM, we are forgiven of our sins and can live in Heaven with Him for eternity.

I am thankful for that stable. I am thankful for that precious baby who grew into a man willing to sacrifice his life for mine. I am thankful that in the midst of every crisis, He is here to offer hope, joy and love.

I am praying for some miracles this season. And finding the joy of the miracle born on Christmas day.