An Unexpected Invitation and a New Experience This Christmas

photo(6)A few days ago, I received a piece of mail that jarred me.

It was an invitation for a celebration of a different kind than I have ever experienced: a funeral home Christmas.

The funeral home that kindly assisted us with the arrangements for Esther’s memorial service and burial is hosting a “celebration of life” ceremony this December.

As I stared at the piece of paper, I marveled at how different this Christmas will be. Different from what I thought, different from what I imagined, different from what I dreamed, and very different from what I hoped for.

Instead of the warm feelings of completeness and togetherness as a family this December, we will feel the cold hole of emptiness without Esther here.

And now this. No first Christmas party for the Waller family of four this year. No first present for Esther to open. No first Christmas dress, or first family pictures in the snow. No firsts at all…except my first invitation to a funeral home Christmas. Wow.

My mind started right in with the protests…

I’m too young for this. Old people go to funeral homes to remember their old friends who have passed, right? I am a young mom, my children should be with me at Christmas. Is this real? Can we just go back to last Christmas? Why can’t we have a do-over? This is not how it was supposed to end..

On and on my mind goes…Every single time I walk by that invitation on my hutch.

And yet, here we are. The events of this year will never be forgotten. They have shaped our family in many ways that I wish we could have done without. As a matter of fact, I had a very different picture in my mind of what type of shape our family would be taking on this year with two young children.

Yet, we are stuck here.

“What do we do now?”

I still ask Adam this question regularly. There is still a tangible helplessness looming in the air sometimes.

I don’t have all the answers. But today, I want to share with you the one thing I know for sure that I should even now…

I know I should keep standing. I know I should keep trusting my life to the only One who knows what to do, who holds all the answers, and who always knows the end from the beginning. I know I should keep presenting my self before God, the Almighty, holy Creator who is bigger than my joy, my pain, my questions, and even my anger. I know that I should keep resting in His faithful love. I know that I should keep serving and obeying Him with everything I am.

So this Christmas season, that is what I resolve to do. When the decorations go up, the carols start playing, and all the fresh reminders from last Christmas come to my mind and heart, I will quiet my soul in Him. When I see that invitation sitting on my hutch (and wrestle in my heart on what to do with it), I will remember the words of the psalmist:

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6

Maybe this Christmas season is bringing mixture of both joy and sorrow to your family as well. My heart goes out to you. I pray that you also can find the unshakable hope that only comes from above.

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