The call came early, unexpected. Sudden death. No warning signs. Life cut short. A grieving family wonders why.
And we are here. The cold icy grip of loss has invaded the festivity.
There is a hunger that cannot be filled with Christmas cookies or a cup of eggnog. It is the hollow place left gaping for someone gone from us this year, another year; someone far away; someone missing from our celebration.
Social media reflects family gatherings with a wealth of pictures, and isn’t family our real inheritance? Because there’s no place like home for the holidays.
Many will gather around decorated trees and tables laden with food to share laughter and stories and the gift of togetherness that cannot be contained in packages. Building more memories while feasting on the food of fellowship.
Some will not.
Families are estranged on Christmas Eve just like the day before. Soldiers are stationed on the other side of the world. Money is short and weather is uncertain so travel is made impossible. Bodies are broken and minds don’t recall last year or yesterday or even a few minutes ago.
And some are dead and gone. Forever is a long time. Because death takes no holiday at Christmas.
Our longings go unfulfilled. The pain of missing is real. And we are found wanting at Christmas time.
The refrain yearns for someone far away. I feel the musical strain, the pain of the melody. You are missed. You are cherished. You are remembered. Your sweet presence is the gift we want more than anything.
December 25 will come and go as it does every year. Some years, we just want it to be over so we can move forward. The anticipation of it is hard. The reality is harder. The ache is honest.
The hollow of our being feels like it will never be filled. How do we learn to live again, like this, without?
There is a Presence that can heal, comfort, and fill our hearts with joy even here. It is the same holy Presence who filled young Mary’s womb, her consenting heart accepting the unknown. “I am willing to do whatever He wants,” she said. This is the place where following Him gets real.
I still believe He fills the hungry with good things.
It is a hunger that can only be filled with the glory that is God. He alone will be enough. Enough to fill the emptiness. Enough to satisfy the longing. Enough to sustain us in the hardest of times.
He has come to be with us in just such a time. We are the reason that He came, the reason He laid aside His power and the glories of Heaven and became small, like us.
Come Lord Jesus, come in. Fill us with Yourself. Be enough in the pain and the strain and the heartbreak.
Be enough for us where we are this Christmas.