Tonight I stand humbled and amazed. I am feeling so much better than a few days ago. Thanks to so many people generously offering meals and relief from looking after the kids, I am feeling rested and more able to handle things once again.
I’ve been updating many people on the health of our crew throughout the day today, and one text from my friend blew me away. This is what she wrote in response to reading my blog post this morning, “a week ago as a family we wrote down 26 names/families we would pray for during advent. Hunse family was on day 8, which was yesterday. Amazes me that on the day you needed prayer and strength, your name was on our lips all day…”
Of course, I burst into tears when I read that. I was overcome with amazement at how much God loves me. He knew last week that on day 8 of advent, our family would need more prayer than usual. He knew a trial was coming and he put people in place to pray for us. When I read that text, I felt as though God wrapped his arms around me and told me I was his and he was taking care of me. Wow.
I am reminded of a song, “Who am I” by Casting Crowns. Jonathan and I sang it together at Ethan’s baptism and his parent’s 40th anniversary and it’s words were special to us then, but I am reminded of them again today.
This has been a very different advent for me this year. Four years ago, my mom died on Christmas day, so the weeks leading up to that event are always filled with mixed emotion. This year, I was so excited for the Christmas season. I was looking forward to decorating, to baking Christmas treats and to feelings of coziness in general. This is the type of Christmas I remember as a child and want to relive. The comfortable Christmas. But as a friend and I talked about today, Christmas is a bit more real than that.
Many of us miss our loved ones more intensely at Christmas. Some of us struggle with our loved ones being ill at this very moment. The magical Christmas seems all too false when we are faced with the reality of our own brokenness and the pain and the loss we feel. The birth of Jesus was anything but peaceful and comfortable. The pregnancy seemed scandalous to the unknowing witness, Mary gave birth among livestock, and Jesus’ life was in danger at a very young age.
I am reminded that the purpose of God sending his Son to earth was to redeem the brokenness. It was necessary for Jesus to come and suffer many things so we could experience eternal life with him, without the tears and the hurt and the pain and the sorrow. Without that hope and that promise, we are left with only our brokenness and our longing for something better.
This advent, I’ve been sick and my kids have been sick. I’m not doing the Christmas baking and the elaborate decorating. I just have to rest and heal and take care of the family. Fortunately, almost all of my gifts have been purchased, so all I have left to do is wait. Wait for Christ’s coming. Wait for healing. Wait for him to restore.
He Knows my Name by Tommy Walker
I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands
I have a Father
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me
No matter where I go
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call