Four years ago I spent Christmas morning in the emergency room with my parents.
Presents and stockings, a hearty breakfast and time of rest with family usually characterize Christmas morning.
But a few days before Christmas I began to have a sharp pain in my lower back. And then I woke up on Christmas in an extraordinary amount of pain. As the oldest child that hardly ever complained, my parents knew it was serious. They drove me to the e.r. and we waited to hear what was going on. The doctor immediately said it was a pilonidal cyst. None of us had ever heard of that before, so we didn’t know what was to follow. That initial procedure in the e.r. was excruciatingly painful.
One of the hardest things about it all was seeing my parents hurt for me. Having to watch them watch me in such pain was so very hard. They wanted to take away the pain. They wanted to jump across the table and take it for me. They wanted to make it all just go away. But they couldn’t. At 21 years old I was still their little girl. Thus we suffered together. I couldn’t have had imagined how much more my mom and I would face as I healed.
I vividly remember that morning.
It led to two surgeries, great amounts of pain, a home nurse, hundreds of doctor visits, and an entire year of healing.
What should have taken a month ended up taking a year. 2008 will never be forgotten.
It will forever remind me that my God is my Healer. He is good and faithful. He always walks with me through the valley of the shadow of death. His presence can comfort me when I feel alone. His Word can give me strength when I don’t have the energy to press on through the pain. His grace is always sufficient and His power is indeed made perfect through my weaknesses.
Every Christmas morning since then I can’t help but praise God for healing me and sustaining me. Jesus is Emmanuel. He is with us. That offers the ultimate hope, peace, and joy.
Christmas might be hard because of the reminder of certain loss or pain. But it also should be the perfect reminder of our God being with us. (I talk more about that in this post: https://spencerandsarahc.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/third-advent-candle-joy/) He never leaves. He knows our pain, weaknesses, hardships. He sees our tears. The Father never forgets His children.
May we hold fast to Emmanuel after all the decorations are put away and family returns home. May we always remember that God came down, dwelt among us, and can sympathize with us. May we not let pain rob of us the joy of our Savior’s birth, which led to His death on the cross, which in turn led to His glorious resurrection from the grave and ascension into heaven. The gospel should take us from complaining to gratitude and from mourning to rejoicing.
God is good and faithful. No matter the pain and loss that might be associated with it, Christmas is the perfect reminder of that.