One week from today is Christmas. It's a little mind boggling. David is taking a final as I write this, I've been busy with my jobs, we were out of town over the weekend celebrating Erin's (David's sister) graduation from Auburn University... It feels like all month we've been thinking about getting ready for the next thing while intermingling the Christmas music, the tacky sweater parties, the gift wrapping... In the midst of all the holiday/December/end of semester busyness, I felt like we were doing a pretty good job of enjoying the season as best we could.
But, then I went to a store to buy a gift card for a family member. It was supposed to be a quick, run in/run out, kind of trip. I grabbed the gift card and got in the express line behind a woman who had easily 40 items in her cart and in front of her was a woman with at least 30. I tried not to let my slight frustration show on my face as I glanced to the left where the magazines were displayed, and there, on the cover of "People Magazine," were the Little Couple from TLC.
I adore their television show. I've watched it since it first came on and have secretly always loved to one day have the opportunity to meet them. When their show abruptly stopped a few months ago, I figured it was just holiday timing, and that they'd come back on after they'd gotten their newly adopted daughter home from India and spent alone time bonding with her. So, when I saw their picture on the magazine, I had to grab it to glean any information about how they and their growing family were doing. I looked forward in line and saw that 30 items lady was writing a check, so I quickly flipped through the glossy pages to find the article, knowing I had enough time to get the gist of it.
When I got there, my heart sank.
I read the tear jerking (in my case) article describing their present situation. Jen having to be rushed home from India, diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer, a rare kind that only affects women who had been pregnant. The irony was painful, and I'm just a person who watches their show.
When David got home later that day, I told him about the article. David has, on occasion, watched the show with me, but only when he has no choice and is simply too tired to do anything else than veg for the 30 minutes it takes me to watch it. When I told him what was going on with their family, he froze, and everything just sort of stopped. We prayed for their family that night and have continued to pray for supernatural healing to touch her body...
This morning, I sat at our kitchen table and unpacked the Mary Kay order I'd been waiting two weeks for. I separated eye shadow samples and looked around our barn house from my chair.
The only word that could describe what I saw was "undeserving." We aren't the best people. We aren't the best neighbors. We aren't the best servants, or adult children, or friends, or even co-workers. Why are we so blessed with so much? Why has the Lord chosen to show us such favor? Why do other people who are so wonderful get sick? Why do families have to watch loved ones die?
My Pandora station played Christmas music in the background, and I remembered the beginning to every answer to every question has already come with the birth of Jesus.
We are undeserving, and God knew that. But, even though we were undeserving, He still desired relationship with us. He still wanted life for us. He was willing to watch His most precious loved one die... Die an agonizing death... So we would know how He really feels about us. Our present circumstances don't reflect God's love for us. God's love doesn't change. So whether we're snuggled, healthy into our homes on Christmas morning or laying sick in a hospital bed, God's love is the same for both.
Christmas morning, Jesus was sleeping among animal waste... Did Mary ask, "Why here? Why this way? Why us? Why Him?" Maybe. But, the circumstances didn't change the truth about God's love. God loved Jesus, His only Son, very, very much. And Jesus knew that fact as He grew up and as they nailed Him to the cross, He knew that his present circumstances didn't reflect how God felt about Him. God loved Him the same that He'd always loved Him.
This Christmas, whatever your present circumstances, I hope you remember that. That, when life is picturesque and when life is hard and scary, God's love for you is the same in both places... Great and merciful.