LOUISE: A Hallmark Christmas

Christmas TreeI can’t believe it’s almost Christmas, but those heart-tugging, tear-jerking Hallmark card TV commercials remind me the holiday is just around the corner. You know, the ones where the long ago student comes back to thank the teacher, or the grown-up daughters find the cards their dad saved all of their years of growing up. Ah, sweet!

I almost had one of those Hallmark moments several years ago. At least I thought I was going to have one. My prodigal daughter came home for the holiday, and as I watched her stroll through the living room, lingering at the Christmas tree and touching ornaments her little hands had made, I hoped she remembered good times. Special times. Then suddenly, she walked into the kitchen.

I stopped what I was doing and turned toward her, noticing the look of remembrance on her face. “Mom, do you remember…” I hung onto every word, certain this was the moment I had been waiting for. That priceless connection. Then she finished. “Mom, do you remember when you swatted that huge, weird-looking spider and baby spiders flew all over the place?” Did she really ask that? Yep, she did! I’m not sure what happened. I just know I was stunned. Shocked, in fact. And yes, I remembered that incident, but certainly not with fondness. A Hallmark moment it wasn’t! 

But most of our lives are not made up of Hallmark moments. Most of our lives are just plain old everyday stuff—the good, the bad, even the exceptional and horrendous, with everything in between. Today, someone is experiencing each of those emotions. For every death being grieved there is a birth being celebrated. While one household is deafeningly empty and lonely, another is bursting at the seams with generations of family members. Being a person who ponders things, I find myself asking God the big question. Why? Why does He seem to bless one person, family or country and not another? Why does one person die from cancer while another survives? Why is one couple blessed with a half dozen children and another remains childless? Why is a teenager cut down in the prime of life by a drunken driver? Why do evil people make shooting galleries of our schools? I have no answer to these questions or a thousand more.

And sometimes at Christmas, memories of these painful events are all too heavy. We miss loved ones who are no longer with us. We remember our favorite Christmas, and it isn’t the one we are having right now. I know those feelings all too well. But I also know there is a God in heaven who has not forgotten us. He sent his Son to this earth that first Christmas over 2,000 years ago. Jesus came so that we might have life and love, even in our most difficult times. Life in Him—not in a holiday. Love in Christ—not in Christmas. A life of hope and peace in the midst of our pain, and joy in spite of it.

So this Christmas I wish you love, laughter, happiness and goodness in every season of your life. Know that our circumstances will never predict or dictate God’s character. His eternal love, mercy and grace can invade our hearts and penetrate our souls, no matter what phase of life we might find ourselves. His presence reaches beyond the holidays.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we prayed blessings on everyone we meet this Christmas season? Not just family and close acquaintances, but every person. Now that, my friends, would be a real Hallmark moment. In fact, I’d call that a Hallmark Christmas!

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