When Christmas isn’t bright.
When bad things happen…when tragedy strikes – whether expected, like in our case, or not, like in the case of those dear children in Connecticut…how do we do Christmas? Sometimes I wonder how I’m going to just breathe. Much less rehang those tiny baby shoes on the tree after bringing them home from the hospital. The only difference to them being that now they have an imprint of Kyle’s tiny feet on the bottom of them.
They’re still empty.
I see evidence of tragedies everywhere now.
An ICU room with a dear wife, mother, grandmother. Who doesn’t realize she’s missing her husband’s funeral because she’s still unconscious from the same accident.
An IV needle that will be administering the third dose of chemo to a dear husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather on Christmas Day in a cold hospital room for his two newly diagnosed inoperable brain tumors.
Smashed windows and hearts of a neighbor – who now has no Christmas gifts for her children. After she worked so desperately hard to provide them with just something happy.
Another mother’s agony in a different state whose sweet baby boy was born into heaven just a few days after mine. And the thoughts in her mind are, “I wonder if the cemetery will do a burial on Christmas Day?”
My filled-already freezer shelf of expressed breastmilk – because there’s no baby to drink it.
My heart hurts even more deeply. Because I know what the world is supposed to be. Perfect, pure, sinless, without pain. And one day it will be. But now it’s not.
And many of these people aren’t even thinking what onlookers are – “I can’t believe this is happening right at Christmas.” As if Christmas is really heavy on our minds. Or if our tragedy had happened at a different time of year, it would have been easier somehow. For many of us, it’s going to be another day to just breathe. To just put our feet on the floor and greet the day. To just try to see something, anything. Because the days seem so dark, black, empty.
I’ve noticed something though in my short lifetime.
The smallest of lights are the brightest in the darkest of rooms.
You just have to look for them. They are there. They are always there.
Flickering. The gentle tears of shared grief from a caring nurse. “I promise I’ll be more professional the next time I come in.”
Flashing. The light in my overflowing fridge (and countertops, and pantry, and freezer) from food gifts of friends who want to meet our deepest need, but can’t. So they provide for another one. I see it everytime I open that door.
Glistening. The shining tears of the cemetery representative. Not the one assigned to us. But another one. Who lost two of her own in the same way we lost Kyle. And asked if she could come to the service. Just to be a support. And her gloves. On that cold day when we laid Kyle to rest. “You take them today. I have pockets.”
Glowing. The handmade blankets, hats, cloth diapers – all given in love by friends, and even strangers. They make my heart warm. Many of them readers, followers, prayer warriors who didn’t even sign a name.
Sparkling. The little eyes on my two girls now. When they say, “Kyle is having fun in heaven today, Mommy, isn’t he?” I look so deeply into those diamonds now.
Shimmering. The soft touch of my sweet friend and doula who never seemed to stop the foot rubs during my long hours of labor. And her unwavering massage on the back of my neck as I passed my baby from my arms, to the ones of the funeral home stranger.
Dazzling. The glory my God is getting from my sweet baby boy’s life. Through his Memorial Fund – that will already because of so many people’s generosity, support a Child Survival Center for 11 1/2 months. Longer than my son was on this earth. I can’t imagine how many lives that will save – physically and eternally.
Through his graveside service – where every woman in attendance had lost a little baby – or babies – sometime during a pregnancy. We felt healing together.
Through the stories that keep coming in from all over the place of people being introduced to Christ because of my little boy’s story. And those being re-introduced.
This dazzling light keeps me from being able to see clearly or act normally because there’s so much of it. Or maybe perhaps it is helping me to see more clearly than I ever have.
Twinkling. The sweet thoughts of what my baby is doing afar off today. Feeling love without fear of pain. Glorying in God’s pure light with untainted motives. Dancing. Without my having to hold him.
Glimmering. It’s almost time to celebrate the coming of the baby boy that made the way for my baby boy to be where he is now. It’s hard for me to think about at times. But it’s sometimes faintly good for me to think about too. That baby boy was born to die, too.
My friend, look for the lights. They are there. And honestly, there are many more of them at Christmas than at any time of the year.
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
– John 1
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