Saturday, December 24, 2011

This Christmas


This Christmas is not at all what I had planned.

It's actually one of the most depressing Christmas' I've ever experienced.

Quite honestly, this Christmas just sucks.

I am home. Alone.

My husband and children are in the Chicago area celebrating Christmas with Shane's family.

My grandparents, uncle, and brother are in town, but staying at my parents house.

My mom is still at the hospital with my dad who is dying from a cancer that, just a week ago, we didn't even know he had.

I'm home with a very fussy baby, looking at a half lit Christmas tree, thinking that this very likely could be my last Christmas with my dad.

There are no presents under our tree.

There was no Christmas Eve service.

There was no special meal, family get togethers, or candle light service.

There was nothing "festive" about today. Nothing at all.

As I am sitting here typing this post, I'm on the verge of tears. There are so many unknowns. How long will my dad live? How will my mom survive? What will our family look like with him gone? Will he be sick? How do we tell the kids?

But as I sit here, I also have been forced to really think about what Christmas is and what it truly means to me.

It all hurts so very much. The grief of Joshua's death is still so fresh. Now there is a new grief added to the mix. I'm losing my daddy. I'm watching my him suffer- the very man who provided for me, protected me, and loved me unconditionally. I'm watching my mom and my brother suffer and grieve as they face the reality that they will eventually lose him. I'm thinking about my children who could very likely grow up without their grandfather in their life.

As I sit here, alone, on Christmas Eve, I can't help but think of the Baby that was born so long ago. The very Baby who came to this Earth so that the suffering of this life would not be the only life we have. I have been forced to face the fact that the baby that was born in a manger is our only Hope for a future.

I have chosen to follow that baby as my Savior. I have chosen to put my trust in Him and allow Him to work in my life. By choosing Him, I have put my life in His hands- even if I don't agree with how my life is going.

He never promised easy- these past few years have been anything but easy. He never promised that following Him would make me perfect in this life. He never promised that I would never feel pain again. But, He has promised an eternal life. He has promised an eternity without suffering. He has promised life through His blood.

This Christmas, I have cried many, MANY tears. I have cried out to God. I have shaken my fists at Him and asked Him why. I have boldly asked Him for an Earthly healing for my dad. I have screamed four letter words at Him. But, I have also rejoiced that He sent that Baby to be born in the manger for me, for my dad, and for my family.

This Christmas, it truly is not about the gifts. It's not about fancy family parties, midnight church services, or pretty decorations. This Christmas it's about a baby who came to save us. It's about a Savior who loves us. It's about trusting that He is carrying us. Most importantly, it's about rejoicing that His blood covers us. 

This Christmas is like no other.




9 comments:

Amy said...

Jill this brought me to tears for so many reasons. Your faith inspires me more than I could ever describe. There are a million cliche things I could say right now and they'd probably all be true. But I just want to give you a great big hug and tell you I love you. <3

JessicaD said...

I could almost feel every ounce of you pain through your words. I did cry as I read, and Jill,I am praying for you daily. I don't know the pain personally, but the way you express your feelings into words for the world to see really hits home. I pray that the Lord be with you through all of the trials you face. You're an amazing person who deserves nothing but happiness after all you have been through.

Jessica said...

I am praying for you, Jill. Know that you are loved. Thank you for sharing your blog.

ashshel said...

Jill,
I know the pain your going through. My grandma is in the final days of her life as cancer will soon get take her life. this has been the hardest Christmas of my life. the only way I make it through the days is by asking God to give me the strength. it has been really hard to have any Christmas spirit this year. praying for your family and especially for your dad.

Auntie M said...

Oh honey...sending love and praying for the comfort that only the Comforter can give.

Suzanne said...

Jill,

I stumbled upon your blog through another blog I follow, and I read a few things, almost feeling as if I were an intruder and had no right to read since I don't know you.

But today, I have read, and gone back and read more, and I feel compelled to write to you. Christmas is tough when you are suffering. Everyone around you seems so happy, but for you, the lights are blaring, and the music too loud. And you just want to cry and run away until it is over.

My mother died on Christmas night many years ago, unexpectedly, and with my then-7-yr.-old daughter lying beside her in bed. The tree lights were blinking that morning, mocking me after we found her. The unwrapped presents under its branches seemed vulgar and rude just by their very presence.

It was SUPPOSED to be a happy time. Bad things weren't supposed to happen - not on that day.

God is my Father, and Christ is His Son, our Savior. I believed that - and still do. But, like you, I didn't FEEL it that year.

I have learned, Jill, that as Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding Place) said, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." He will not leave you or forsake you. He will be ever-present in the hurt, the pain, and the confusion. Of course you know this, but you just need others to affirm this for you right now.

May His grace be upon you and your family. I will keep reading and praying for you. May it help just a little to know that when you many not even feel like praying, others are doing it for you.

God bless you,
Suzanne

cmnana44 said...

Your post and the comment from Suzanne say it all. I can't add anything. Still praying for you and your family!!

Tracy: said...

I'm sorry you are facing this pain right now! Praying for extravagant peace from our savior to hold you!!!!

Auntie Mip said...

A dear friend lost her son recently in a freak accident. I ache for her and you and I don't even know you. I prayed for so many things for her and her family. Mostly I prayed she would find hope. I even gave her a hint as to where to find it. I see you knew exactly where to find it. He is indeed swaddled in a manger.

Dear one I pray for your daddy. I have spent seven Christmas' without mine. I know without question where he is. We can never know what the outcome for your daddy will be. I pray your desire for earthly healing is granted. I know your knowledge of that Baby will bring you hope!

God Bless you!

 
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