Yes, it’s me. Again.
It’s the end of the day and I’m exhausted; emotionally and mentally, though my eyes are burning, too.
Of course, we both know that the burning in my eyes is more from the tears that have built up behind them and pushed toward the rims of my eyes but that I have kept damned up. At least for now. They’ll spill over sometime in the quiet chaos of my personal Bethlehem as I keep an eye on the star on the horizon and the coming of Christmas.
I mean, I get it. You’re a part of our lives. A part of our family. And most days, I can accept that. Even when I would rather not, I can accept that as part of our daily reality.
But it’s Christmas.
No, I know, that doesn’t change anything for you. But I need you to know it anyway. I need you to know it’s Christmastime and that means something different. It means miracles and chaos and hope and fear. It means I wish I could wish you away. At least for a day or an hour.
Because Christmas is such a big deal to my sweet little girl and it hurts when you show up unannounced. It pierces my heart and my strength when you steal her joy and turn what should be a fun family evening into a meltdown festival.
Like you did tonight.
You see, here’s the thing. I’ve been writing about Christmas and trying to keep my heart focused on Bethlehem and the shepherds and the angels and a baby in a manger.
But tonight? Tonight I wanted the joy and celebration of the holiday and I wanted a memory that my girl could wrap around her when she snuggled beneath her covers and contemplated the number of days until Christmas.
Instead, she was undone and, yes, broken, because around you, in moments of excitement and sensory stimulation, she slowly withers until she cracks, her voice shaky, her eyes tear-filled, her heart overflowing, overwrought with chaos and unknowns.
As I tuck her in to bed tonight, I hope she doesn’t focus on the carousel ride with the raucous teenage girls whose screams and screeches hurt her ears and had me holding my hands over her ears so that she could hold her elf and the bridle of her carousel horse. I hope she doesn’t focus on the last ride, which was going to be “the best ride of the night and became the worst ride ever” when the carousel music was turned off for the carolers.
I hope she doesn’t focus on the three carousel rides that brought her to tears but that she can hold fast to the four rides that caused her to smile at least a little bit.
And I hope that I can focus on Bethlehem and see you there; see you in my personal Bethlehem of chaos and clutter and fear alongside the hope and joy and promise that is Christmas.
I hope that I can hold fast to the idea that God sees you and He sees my frustration and fragility. And it is in the fragility and brokenness that He comes; in fact, it’s why He came. To bring wholeness where there is brokenness and to bring strength to my fragility.
So that when others look into my eyes and see them shimmering with tears on a carousel ride as I hold my hands over my seven-year-old’s ears, they will also see a strength that comes because of Christmas. Because God came near.
And He stayed.