Today is a Difficult Day

My mother-in-law has a flaw. She thinks about others first.

About fifteen years ago, she lost her balance and fell. She broke two vertebrae in her neck. However, she didn’t want Ed’s dad to call Ed for a few days, since he had plans for the weekend. She didn’t want to cause a fuss, and make Ed cancel his plans. Ed was chaperoning a lock-in for the youth group at our church, and it would have been easy to find a replacement for him.

When I was planning my wedding, her granddaughter, my soon-to-be niece, was eight years old. She was going to be our flower girl; she had always wanted to be the flower girl in her uncle’s wedding. As all little girls do, she wanted to be sparkly. I didn’t want her to be sparkly. I picked out her dress, and it matched my wedding dress perfectly. Well, my niece didn’t like it. So we went from dress shop to dress shop, trying to find a dress that maybe she would like. My mother-in-law defended my choice, and insisted that my niece wear what I had chosen. She got to wear a sparkly dress for Christmas, instead.

I was very lucky to have my mother-in-law as my mother-in-law.

All week, it has been difficult to substitute past verbs for present verbs. “She has”…to “she had”, and so on. You see, today we are going to celebrate her life. We are going to remember the twinkle she always had in her eye, the dry wit she displayed even when she was in pain, the smile she always had for her grandchildren.

We love you, Grandma.

My song is love unknown
My Saviour’s love to me
Love to the loveless shown
That they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I that for my sake
My Lord should take frail flesh and die?

Here might I stay and sing–
No story so divine!
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like thine.
This is my friend, in whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend!

Text: Samuel Crossman, c. 1624-1683
Tune: John D. Edwards, 1806-1885

Holiday Rant

STOP coming up to my children and telling them about Santa. We Don’t Do Santa! Yes, I understand that my children are unbelievably cute, and you just want to talk to them, even if you spot us in the grocery store and don’t know us from Adam. But please, DON’T tell them Santa is coming! Don’t tell them if they’re not good, Santa won’t bring them any presents. Don’t ask them what Santa brought them for Christmas!

I don’t mind if you chose to let your children believe in Santa, really! And I’ll try my best to teach my children to keep their mouths shut about Santa. I know I spilled the beans to classmates in the second grade about Santa and the Easter Bunny, and I feel a tiny bit bad about that. My parents raised us without Santa, and we intend to do the same for my children.

What about the magic of Santa? The childhood wonder of Christmas? If you burst into flame over religious talk, you can stop reading now.

Imagine the sky full of stars. A starry blanket; a real Milky Way because there are no street lights, house lights, or headlights from the highways to lighten the sky. Then imagine the brightest star of all, over a stable in Bethlehem. The baby Jesus, sent to earth as a baby for us, is the Magic of Christmas. And that’s what I want my children to know and anticipate when it’s Christmas time. That is a childhood wonder that can last into adulthood, and into to our old age. Be good, for goodness sake, but not for Santa. Be good because God so loved us that He sent His only Beloved Son to us and for us. And so we should follow His example and love others. We’re not always good at this whole love thing, but we can give it our best shot.

%d bloggers like this: