Post-holiday Muse

Twas the night before Christmas, and I had a revelation.




I was in the guest room wrapping the gifts I had shipped north or stuffed into my extra suitcase, everything spread out before me on the bed. A cup of tea and my stepmom’s just-baked spice cookies stood on the night stand. My Pandora Christmas playlist filled the room with classics by Andy Williams and Bing Crosby.


Suddenly a flash of memory took me back to wrapping gifts in the same room four years earlier. It was the first Christmas without my mother. The house was literally cold and dark, every space empty with her absence. I wrapped gifts mechanically, my heart filled with sorrow, Sarah Mclachlan’s melancholy Wintersong album reflecting my mood with its beautiful and haunting melodies about the holidays, and loss.


But now, the house was literally warm and bright. It smelled like holiday baking, just as it used to when Mom was alive. Blooms burst from the two Christmas cactuses  my stepmom kept in the room, one of them on my mother’s old desk. Behind this year’s happier choice of music I could hear the lilting tones of my husband’s voice as he chatted with my dad and stepmom downstairs.


This was a redemptive moment, a gift so profound, and so characteristic of my redeeming Savior, that tears came to my eyes.


I will always miss my mom. No one can replace her, and tears come just as quickly when I think of her. But Christmas day brought more redemptive moments and lovely memories with family—the first Christmas we spent together since I got married. Once again, God had touched specific places and contexts of loss and brokenness with His redemptive love and grace, and I am quietly grateful.


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