While others sleep in the cold…

The white christmas lights on the mantle glowed and gave the room a warm feel, even in the midnight hush. Alannah tossed again and settled with her heels in my back. Little one inside stirred too and jabbed me deep in the gut with her tiny heels.
I pulled my blanket up a little closer, and closed my eyes again.

Christmas Eve sleep overs on the living room rug are a great idea. Just not super comfortable. But more than the hard floor pressing back at me were the images of others sleeping on the ground tonight.

We chose to do this to make a fun memory for the children. You would think that beds were out of style as excited as they were to plop pillows and quilts on the floor and snuggle in. I imagined the hard Grecian ground, the cold reaching through cardboard, clasped hands with the chill of fear already pulsing through the veins of those trying to sleep.

I thought of Mary, her body aching with sore muscles of just having given birth. She may have slept on the ground too.
I wonder if she got cold. Or if she was hungry.

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Neighborhoods around here are lit up with the festive Christmas colors. Plates of cookies and candies are given and carols sung. My children’s eyes gleamed as I handed them their wrapped gifts last night.

We are keeping Christmas simple this year, but the $6 blankets that I gave the kids delighted them. They stroked the soft fleece, and their eyes glowed. “This is better than a dream!” Weston smiled. Tirzah pranced around with the thick softness bunched high around her shoulders, stroking the velvet feel, “I can’t believe my BODY!”
They were so delighted with the simplest of things.

I fingered my blanket and wondered how many blankets could be stowed into a container, or a suitcase. How I wish I could reach across the ocean and pull a dripping child out of the chilly water, or grasp the hands of a terrified mother clutching her child and provide a bit of warmth, safety, love.

In a strange way, I feel connected to those refugees. They drink deep of pain and loss. They are on a journey, a desperate, life-changing one.
They leave behind things once dear, in exchange for something more important.
For freedom. For their children. For a new life.

We are each connected… We are brothers and sisters.
On this place called earth,
we are all one flesh, longing, hoping, waiting for something better.
When one hurts, we all hurt.
The chill they feel creeps up my spine, and I wish to pull them close. To help my fellow humanity.

Today marks the anniversary of when my friend’s baby entered heaven. Christmas mingles such salty memories for her, and I wonder again how we can keep breathing when air only comes in jerking gasps. Each year I wonder how to be the support she needs, the comfort, the understanding friend who has never lost a child I’ve held in my arms. There are many refugee mothers who could identify. But I lay here on the floor, surrounded by my slumbering family, and feel a pang of guilt.
For having.
For holding close.

I know Mary watched as Jesus grew, and pondered so many things. And all the while she knew a sword would enter her heart. This child who she held and loved and nursed, would be taken in the most brutal way. Yet, at the same moment, this child would bring breath and life and hope to all man kind. Her sacrifice is staggering, and her words of worship ring deep and true though the hard questions we ask as the world falls apart around us. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

In a world where she knew she would be shattered, she chose to embrace God’s way. Far beyond her human understanding, she chose to agree with God. She found peace, not in the circumstances around her,
but in who God is.

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A new year is just a few days’ reach away. With all the unknowns and the darkness of the world around me, I find a beautiful peace in pausing and being reminded that our lives are in God’s hand.
Our children are really his.
And each of my dear friends with hurting hearts – and those facing such trauma each day just to survive – are held.
Kept.
Preserved in His care.

May the joy of the Lord carry each one of you, and turn your tears to glory. Welcome to a new year of grace and of finding God to be more than enough.

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