I’ve been trying all day to think of a happy Christmas message to write, but I don’t seem to have one this year. It’s been an odd break, not Christmas-like – I’m used to being with my parents this time of year, and I haven’t had the energy or inclination (hooray for end-of-semester exhaustion, plus toothaches, plus medication that adds headaches as a final insult) to be the least bit festive. Not that I’m especially able at creating that mood even at my best.
So it’s been a quiet day at home, nothing very special except for the phone calls to and from family members elsewhere. I’ve mainly spent the break, including today, sleeping and working on prep for next semester’s classes; we ordered books for the YM’s spring classes today and a few for me. And part of me has struggled with feeling sad and lonely and generally in a the-world’s-not-fair mood.
But one of my tasks has been re-reading Charles Williams’ Descent Into Hell, prepping to teach it next semester. And so I am reminded that I am not here to feel good. I am here to love God and my neighbor, to take joy not in circumstances but in Him and in His people, to bear the burdens of others as others have so often borne mine, to recognize His love in all the wild and quiet, wonderful and quotidian ways that it is manifest in this world He created, marred though it has become. Under the Mercy, as Peter Stanhope would say.
So . . . my youngest turns 18 in two days – that’s something to celebrate. We drove around town and enjoyed Christmas lights tonight – what beauty God allows us to create.* My oldest son and his family sacrificed his leave time to make the long drive to visit my parents – how God manifests His love in His children. I have a husband who loves me and does so many lovely sweet things to show it – not every wife is so blessed. I sit here surrounded by books – and how less rich my life would be without those many voices that challenge and comfort and bless me. Tomorrow, then, I shall try to remember His blessings, and not allow the inevitable sorrows of a broken world to negate His beauty that still shines forth in it. Under the Mercy . . .
* (You can see the YM’s excellent photographs from the drive, along with many others, at Vesta Photography. He’s good – really good. And I don’t think I’m overly biased . . .)