I’m always awake each Christmas morning far before my kids, just waiting and watching to see their faces light up and hear their shrieks of delight! Our children are all adults now, so the shrieks have changed into groans with my early morning call to wake up. This Christmas is particularly meaningful because one of our daughters is getting married in February. By this time next year, she’ll start new traditions and begin her own family memories. I am exceedingly happy about this – all is as it should be!
New beginnings are exciting – full of wonder and promise – but there is something about the finality of this that gives me pause. With a brand new chapter of her life just around the corner, I can’t help but remember when she was born and the newness of her life. It is so surreal to see her now, as a grown woman, when those earlier memories for me are still crystal clear. The thing about newness though, is that it doesn’t last. All things, man-made and in nature, transition and change over time and although we know this to be true, most of us still struggle with change.
CHANGE IS INEVITABLE
Often, the celebration of something new also signifies the ending of something else, so I see two things at play. We celebrate the longevity of the things that matter most to us – life, marriage, careers, motherhood – and yet we grieve as they end or change because of the finality of it. I do not stop being a Mom because my daughter gets married; it is simply a marker along the journey of motherhood that notes the passage of time, a change, and yes, an end of sorts. Some of the things I hold dear are drawing to a close as time marches on, and this is hard on my heart. I still grapple with how to experience both the joy of future hope and the sadness for what is no more.
Why is this? And what do I do with these emotions that sometimes make my heart feel like it is in an ever-tightening vise?
FINDING SOLID GROUND
In a world that is bound by time and marks the passage of it, a world that is constantly in flux in every dimension of my life, I look for solid ground for my next steps. I see the sun rise faithfully each morning and everything in its light casts a shadow. The sun is outside of me, bigger, and beyond my ability to control. Its appearance helps us to mark the days, and seasons, yet even it does not stay the same. It comes and goes. It too, is bound by time. From where I look, I can see only One thing that is over all other things, not a thing, actually, but a Person.
In my ever-changing world, I am grateful for a Creator that is outside of place and time and yet wants us to know Him as He has determined the exact times and places for all of us. (Acts 17:24-27) It brings me great peace to realize that the changes that are difficult for me, are not new to God. He does not change like the shifting shadows we see in our natural world, (James 1:17), so we can look confidently to Him for security and stability and wisdom.
PEACE & REST
As my family grows and roles change within it, I have found a new rest that is fitting for me to focus on during the holy season we celebrate Christ’s birth. I find my rest simply in this: all of the good gifts we receive serve a sole purpose of pointing us to the greatest gift of all – the Creator and His love for us.
My Mama heart finds great hope in the truth that even as all things change, and as much as I wish it wasn’t so, I can see that God is writing the story of our lives within His bigger story of drawing all people to Himself. God has set eternity in the heart of every person (Ecclesiastes 3:10) so that as we experience these bittersweet changes everything in us cries out, “it’s not right!” and that is true. We were created to live for an eternity with no death or separation from Love. All of the things in this changing world proclaim that something is wrong here and needs to be set right. All these things are pointing to the need for an unchanging God in whom we can trust.
One day there will be no more death, or separation, or illness, or broken hearts. Because of Jesus, we can appreciate the gifts we’ve been given in the time we have to enjoy them, and look forward with a confident hope toward the Day that the same God Who made us, and through Jesus has made us His own, will come again and set all things right.
Truly, this is JOY to the whole world.