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December’s moon.

Even the word “December” rolls off my tongue with a hint of peace and blessing. For as long as I have memory, I have loved the dark and quiet days of this month, even as malls rage with shoppers and traffic is loud and angry and calendars are too full and expectations about family gatherings and gifts to buy crowd our hearts and make our brains hurt.

December 22, Louisville, KY

In the evenings, it seems, the madness fades, and the blanket of winter’s first days wrap themselves around the earth with more comfort than threat. More mercy than chaos. More invitation to rest and renew than keep up the frantic pace of a consumer-driven holiday season.

I write with a scratchy throat and congestion and a headache. With blood pressure a bit higher than normal as I transition from one professional setting to the next.With the grief I will always carry for my Curly Girl and her life’s losses an especial load during the holidays. With my heart aching for loved ones who are hurting, and for whom the next several days will make that hurt worse–the death of parents, the awfulness of “sharing” your children post-divorce, the fear of job loss, the threat of illness, the burden of difficult finances. None of this heaviness of life disappears just because it is the Christmas season (and has been since October if you let Hallmark or any department store define it for you).

And yet it is exactly this heaviness of life that Jesus came to share with us.

It is exactly our broken hearts that Jesus came to heal.

It exactly our jacked-up, messy, never-quite-what-we-planned lives that Jesus came to be part of.

Emmanuel. God-with-us.

There is very little in this life we can do that is more powerful than offering our presence to someone in need. No “fixing.” No “helping.” No “right words.” No “If you’d just do this…maybe this…” No “Just think positive.”

Just presence.

The mighty and restorative mercy of simply showing up, and saying, “I’m with you. You are not alone. And I will be here, next to you, in the quiet space of shared breathing, hands held, and the silent companionship that only those who know and love each other well can find comfort in. For as long as I am needed.”

December speaks this promise to me–in beautiful moons and soft gray skies and evenings that fall steadily and softly across the mantle of our busy days and beg us to rest. December asks us to remember how loved we are. To see past the hustle and bustle and into the very good news that God has not forgotten us after all and into our midst has come the truth about what it means to love and be loved.

If your heart is feeling the bruises of its broken places throbbing tender and with remembered ache these days, know that you are not alone. And know that I am praying for you. I am. Even as I pray for those I love best in these beautiful and brutal days.

And I will hold you in my heart as I sing (sometimes to myself and sometimes right out loud in the car) a song my beloved Indigo Girls wrote and performed that speaks more deeply to my soul than I could ever explain:

One tiny child can change the world
One shining light can show the way
Beyond these tears for what I’ve lost
There’s still my joy
There’s still my joy for Christmas day
There’s still my joy for Christmas day

Joy, my friends. And peace. And if you happen to be not quite sure that you are loved, that you are not alone, step outside as I did tonite, and take in the glory of that gorgeous December moon…bank on its constancy. Trust its presence. Let its warm light bathe you in the promise that all around is the goodness of the Love that created us. Pulsing. Present. Full of grace.

And remember that it is precisely for all that feels so broken and worn and hopeless that Jesus came to be among us.

Again and again and again.

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3 thoughts on “December’s moon.

  1. Beautiful. I just love how you are able to express my feelings and you don’t even know me. Merry Christmas to you and Curly girl.

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