Every week, my wife and I work our way through a prompted dialogue. We talk about the coming week, what things are coming down the pipeline and what we need from each other. We express what we are grateful for and share how we are feeling. An open and honest evaluation of our hearts. Sometimes we’re on top of the world and other weeks we’re overwhelmed. This particular week, I’m confused, feeling the wonder of Christmas, sharing it with such a beautiful soul, and yet reminded that my kids live in a post-divorce world, where holidays are split between houses. While I realize that Christmas is not bound to a single day, there is a distinct absence felt in the silence every Christmas morning. It’s a thick and heavy silence, not like the kind that one usually appreciates in the midst of shopping, business, cooking and parties.
Ericka and I do our best to make up for it every year. The Thursday before Christmas, our blended family gathers around the tree to eagerly open presents. Five for each child: something to wear, something to share, something to read, something they need, and something they want. Then we put on our pajamas and head out for ice cream, before winding through neighborhoods to enjoy the Christmas lights.
Wait. Hope. Trust. All those feelings are there. Wait and allow God to work His grace through the kids’ lives. Through our lives. Hope that there will be a beautiful ending to this story. Trust that God is always at work, knowing Christ’ resurrection is always present in every story, including theirs. Easier said than done.
God told Zephaniah something similar:
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. – Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
To put things in perspective, Zephaniah lived around 612 B.C. During his lifetime, Manasseh came into rule over Israel, and sowed confusion, hopelessness and a string of wretched practices into the culture, among which the worst was child sacrifice. These are the words God spoke over Israel in the fray they found themselves in.
My soul is reminded of how grateful I am for my wife, a promise God made to me after my first marriage ended. That though the holidays hold a heaviness, we as a family get to enjoy the moments together. If we’re not careful, the pain of brokenness will rob us of the gladness within reach.