When my dad died I was cleaning the bathroom. I know that seems so insignificant to remember, but I know the exact feeling of standing there cleaning the bathroom and hearing the phone ring. It was my brother. I missed it the first time, but when he called back he said, “Did you hear?” “No.” I was cautious, but not expecting, “Dad passed away.” I thought he was joking. Why would he, but still. I thought maybe he was mistaken. We hung up. I just stood there, mop in one hand and phone in the other hand, still. I walked down to my husband and I said, “I think my dad died.” Silence.
Just like that my dad was gone. I tried to remember the last time I had seen him, but it wouldn’t come to me.
I remember standing there and this peace came over me. This little voice said to my heart, “Don’t worry. He’s with me. Have peace.” I have never in my life so clearly heard God’s voice and felt him near me as I did in that moment. I have also never in my life felt so immediately undone. The tears fell.
It was December. After Thanksgiving, but before Christmas and I always think of him during the holidays. Always. I imagine myself standing in the hallway by the bathroom holding a mop in my hand. Then the peace. I close my eyes and remember what it felt like to be covered in a blanket of comfort & warmth.
There is pain over the holidays, and I sometimes wonder if it is a way to distract us from the power of this season. I think there is really nothing that compares to Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is nothing like stopping to be grateful, nothing like the gift of Jesus coming to save us. That is the true power, right? Something my mom said to me when my dad died changed my perspective of Christmas. She said, “This is for Jesus. We do this first.” I felt like my heart had permission to still celebrate Christmas even while I was grieving.
Today, my heart is to pray for those in our midst that are silently struggling, for those that have suffered a very painful loss recently, for those who feel alone. We see you. We remember you. JESUS KNOWS.
Will you pray with me?
Father, we rejoice in the holidays and say thanks for your graciousness in our lives. We know this time of year can be difficult for many. Lord, surround them. Bring them your peace. We often get buried in this season, we go about our days shopping, working. We don’t always see the pain, Lord. We miss it, but you don’t. We are all known by you. We are all loved by you.
Thank you, Jesus.