Beautiful Christmas Eve service. Carols and children and candles and visits from old friends.
A long time friend with too many of her own struggles cries and tells me "My sister is dying. She won't be here for Christmas. It's true. She hugs me and won't let go. A few tears later and hope from a father who knows her daughter is in God's hands. I am speechless. How can a father whose daughter is dying know how to comfort me so? I should be comforting him. But he's been comforting me for years. His smile is big (how?) and he tells me that his daughter is in better hands than his. Peace, Joy, Love. But my friend is still crying as I walk out the church doors "My sister won't be here for Christmas...my sister is dying..." Heavy Christmas.
Dinner with my nearest and dearest. Lots of time-for-a-baby comments. One present opened. An attempt at a Christmas movie. Everyone is falling asleep. We are tucked in on the sleeper sofa in Nana's bookroom. Blogging while husband finishes last minute details on what promises to be a thoughtful gift of love.
I leave you with my favorite Christmas promises. Read and have hope. Our Savior has come! And you know what? He's coming again. Father of dying daughter believes these words. Oh how he believes them! "sorrow and sighing will flee away" Yes, yes Lord, we believe.
Joy of the Redeemed1 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
"Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you."
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it. [a]
9 No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.