We just returned from Sunday Night Live a little while ago. It was a special service, with the children’s handbell choir performing a song and the children’s choir singing.
There is just something about bells at Christmas. They don’t even need to make a song (as was really the case with the kids’ performance; the song was supposed to be away in a manger, but I just couldn’t make it out). It’s the tone, it just seems so…holy. It helped that there was a cute little boy with half of my DNA making some of that sweet music. Jeffrey was adorable in his little red sweater and his two big bells. I just closed my eyes and let that majestic tolling take me higher. It was awesome.
When we returned home, the front lawn was alight with our Christmas display. The two reindeer with their nodding heads. The lovely white tree with the snowman angel beside. And the colored lights on the bushes under the windows. There are candle lights in all the windows, and a sweet tree all twinkly in the front bay. It felt good pulling into that drive.
As the boys went up for their showers, I took Lucy Mae out for her stroll around the house. She wasn’t impressed with the Christmas display. We walked right on past it. We turned our backs on the warmth of Christmas and loped around the side of the house, into the dark. I could see the silhouette of the trees against the milkiness of the cloudy night sky. The night sounds murmured to me in the dark, and I was alone with God. I didn’t want to let go of the day. The music, the children; it was all so lovely. I began to tell Him about it.
But the strange thing was, I felt so sad, the same time that I felt so happy.
He directed my attention back to the house. I could see my kitchen through the back bay window. The cherry cabinets were glowing in the softness of the flourescent lights. I could see my pot rack, and the graceful arch of the backs of cane and iron chairs around the kitchen table. The light played shadows across the cream colored walls, and my kitchen was alive. It was beautiful.
The Lord asked me, “What kind of family lives here, Laura?”
“A happy one,” I replied, with tears in my eyes.
He took me away from Christmas to have me peek in on my life. He knows. He knows that it is more than I ever dreamed.
I never asked to be this happy. I never asked for these two beautiful children. Who knew what a wonderful man I would marry? I never asked for this lovely home. I never could have imagined a Christmas display like the one in my front yard.
Not much to most of my friends. But if they could see where I came from. Sometimes, I still have trouble believing it is real.
I will never, never get over the goodness of God. He never lets me forget. Tonight, as I looked through my own kitchen window, I felt like a stranger peering in on an entirely foreign scene. For a brief moment, I was that lonely little girl again. That little girl who didn’t know the joy of Christmas. The one who longed for a home that was whole and pure.
I don’t know how many years must go by before I can shake this melancholia at Christmas time. Perhaps it will always be a part of me. The young, shining faces of the children tonight seemed to call to that little girl inside of me. Oh, the joy!
Tonight, as I tucked the guys in, I thanked the Lord silently that their home is whole. He holds me in the palm of His hand. He comforts me with His strong right arm. He has blessed me with more than I could ever ask or imagine. And I’m not even 40 years old yet.
And He could take it all away tomorrow and I would be okay. My strength is in the joy of the Lord! Beloved, there is such joy in knowing Him. I don’t know what kind of emptiness is inside of you, Dear One. Perhaps it is a troubled marriage. Maybe an illness that plagues you. Or there may be a painful incident in your past that comes back to haunt you sometimes. We all have a place that longs. It longs to be home. In our Father’s house that has many rooms. But for now, my dears, we are here.
Let Him fill that empty place. Look through the window, Beloved. What is the Lord showing you tonight? If you look, you will see His faithfulness and His goodness.
Don’t be afraid to look, My Dears. He will be there with you the entire way.