Journal entry by Trish Richhart

I awoke this morning to this beautiful scene.  While it was dark and stormy looking in the distance, the sun was shining golden upon our yard.  This contrast between light and dark actually makes this all the more beautiful.  I  realized that this pretty much sums up my emotions right now as we celebrate Jesus' birth at Christmas.  There is this contrast of emotions within me.  Last night we celebrated our Christmas Adam tradition. (We call December 23rd Christmas Adam because Adam came before Eve.) For probably a dozen or so years we have all slept in the living room around the Christmas tree together on this night as a family.  We haul down mattresses, blankets and pillows from the bedrooms and make our cozy nest all together.  We eat chili cheese fries and watch a Christmas movie.   Then everything goes off but the lights of the tree and we talk before going to sleep.  It's a lovely time of family togetherness.  It's the golden sunshine.  But all evening, I couldnt stop thinking about the one missing.  The dark clouds of grief were there, too.  We were blessed to have 8 Christmas Adam's with Samuel.  Despite long hospital stays, he never had to miss one.  I am grateful, but my heart longs for more.
So there is this contrast of emotions.  There is definitely joy, but it is tainted by grief and longing for one we love and miss.  I recently read this that sums it up well:
"Believing that the real work of the human heart and mind is learning to hold complicated feelings simultaneously. To feel breathless gratitude for our life and loved ones, while also feeling the deep bruise of grief for those who are no longer here. To pause and take in the beauty of warm-white holiday lights, while also holding the ache of loss for whoever and whatever might be missing from our lives." (Lynn Shattuck, "Surviving the Holidays While Grieving")
We don't often think about it, but Christmas, itself, is a picture of contrasts.  The Light of the World left His glory and was born in a dark and dirty stable.  The same God who could orchestrate a census of the entire Roman world to fulfill prophesy and create a star just for the occasion certainly could have made His appearance on earth in much better surroundings.  But He didn't.  He could have certainly healed Samuel from leukemia, too.  But He didn't.   The mind and the heart of God are unfathomable.  I may not understand His ways, but I do feel His love.  Just like He did on that first Christmas night, He enters into our dirty mess.  Because of Him, I have the hope that this grief is just a temporary condition.  That tips the scales and shines just a bit more golden light on things.  
Hoping that as you celebrate this Christmas, the golden light of His love outshines all the dark clouds in your life, too.
Still trusting in His mighty hand,
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