That word has always made my heart leap for joy. The music. The presents. The excitement! The bows and gifts and paper. The Christmas Eve service. The Christmas program our church has. The packages coming in the mail. The birth of our Savior. The joy, the salvation, the HOPE He brings. Each little thing each year just made my heart leap for happiness and joy.
it came a bit differently.
Joy? Oh yes. I have a niece! Who has given me so much joy and thankfulness. Her present is precious :)
Grief? Yes. Pain? Yes. Sadness? Yes.
"Where one is born, another leaves, branches on the family tree..." She's in the music.
I distinctly remember the picture frame I got her for Christmas last year, it was black...and white...with a picture of us. She's in the presents, the gifts.
I stood on stage this weekend with all the kids, dressed in their black and white, singing with all the passion in their hearts, "Born is the King, it's Christmas!" She once stood beside me when I was in children's choir. She's there too.
I can see her worshiping, arms lifted, in her seat the Sunday before Christmas- rejoicing that 2,000 years ago the Savior was born for all of us. She's at church.
Finding joy this Christmas season...it's hard. That joy that was there last year- it's not the same.
I wrote that post about a week ago...I was in a hard spot. I've been thinking about what I wrote- and then it hit me, sitting in church Sunday...her favorite place, it's like she's closer there.
It hit me...she's in the music, in the gifts, in children's choir, she's at church...
I had been saying it over and over again....she's here. Yes, she's far away...very very far, and no I can't text her, can't run to her and hug her...but in a way- she's here with me every day.
No, it doesn't really make sense how she's still here- but she just is. Some days the hurt is unbearable, I look at her face in pictures and I just want to cry...but other days, there's a weird kind of joy...not the "Oh my goodness I'm so happy!" kind of joy...but joy. Somehow in the pain of today as I write this, in the pain of each day- joy.
I think it's because I know in a while, I'll see her again- I'll be with her and we will get to celebrate the Savior's birth together once again- in the best possible way, praising him together.
This verse has been my best friend lately, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
My friends...that's heaven. That's where she is. And oh what a glorious Christmas she will have this year.
So for today...I'm comforted by the thought that I will see her again, and we will get to celebrate Christmas together...And I'll choose to love, to serve with joy, to worship His name just as she is now- right at this very moment.