Monday, December 30, 2013

crazy wonderful Christmas

"this is our craziest Christmas," she said with a weak laugh. sitting there on the hospital bed on Christmas night with a fever of 102, and she's right: this is crazy.

"you're such a trooper," i tell her, "and this is crazy." but i think back to last year and the year before and the year before, and the truth is that even though we're in the emergency room and doctors are writing us a $200 prescription, this actually isn't our craziest Christmas.

remember the year we drove to Grandma's house in a blizzard? what about that Christmas when we were snowed in for days? we recount a handful of Christmases together, ranking their crazy. 

there's an infant in the hospital room next to ours, wailing, coughing, severely congested. the man in the room across the hallway is doubled over in pain waiting to be seen by the doctor. weary parents roll their teenage daughter through the halls in a wheelchair. she's shaking violently, her eyes hollow, and her skin is translucent. i caught a glimpse of her admission paperwork: "Chief Complaint: nervous" and in red ink: overdose.

i swallow hard and smile at my little girl with the flu-like symptoms, thanking God for even this. my heart starts to race and i grab her hand, "we've been given a great opportunity," i say, and we stand in the hallway praying over everyone in every hospital room on Christmas night. this is a crazy Christmas.

the flu test comes back negative and her fever breaks. back at Grandma's house we eat cheeseburgers and Oreo cake. it's warm and quiet. i remember Christmases here when joy was sparse amid addictions and guilt, heartbreak and sorrow, mourning and pain, anger and fear. but this year, the joy is immeasurable. we have overcome. there is healing and harvest, faith and peace, stability and growth, happiness and love. so much love. we are loved deeply by God, our God of redemption, and we are not defeated. the front door is a revolving door of family in and out, hugs and hellos. uncles and aunts, cousins, the baby, the half-brother, the new girlfriend, Great-Grandma, and playful dogs fill the house and our hearts are full of joy. and this is a crazy wonderful Christmas.

1503. "best Christmas ever" the kids said again this year
1504. getting carried away by a children's fiction story
1505. fancy new kitchen tool for one of my favorite hobbies
1506. sunny and 55, ideal Texas Christmas weather
1507. holding hands at Christmas Eve church service
1508. extra hot soy peppermint mocha in a red cup
1509. melt-in-your-mouth honeybaked ham
1510. busy little boy hands with new Legos
1511. the Word became flesh...John 1:14
1512. our 4 gifts tradition
1513. Julie the dog-sitter
1514. sword-fighting cousins
1515. Shut The Box and Monopoly with Grandma
1516. Walgreens pharmacy
1517. Selah CD playing in the background
1518. new books on my bedside table
1519. hubby's favorite new pillow
1520. Hebrews 10:19-39
1521. keeping Christ in Christmas
1522. the annual family picture
1523. stockings full of fun and thoughtful gifts
1524. estee lauder resilience lift (seriously)
1525. back to back episodes of Undercover Boss
1526. my motherly instincts
1527. all four of us in 1 bed
1528. handmade gifts- bracelets, activity booklets, drawings
1529. reading aloud with my little guy
1530. red glitter wrapping paper
1531. conversations and laughter
1532. 80s hits on Pandora
1533. silly texts with my siblings
1534. not wanting to leave Grandma's house
1535. homemade from scratch birthday cake with chocolate frosting
1536. coming home and reflecting on a crazy wonderful Christmas

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 
The light shines in the darkness, 
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5