It’s been really hard for me to rejoice this time of year since my mom died. I think anyone who has lost a significant figure in their life would say the same. Christmas was our season. I loved decorating the tree with her. I loved sipping piping hot cider next to the fireplace with her. I loved her ability to elevate the normal to the special, the mundane to the extraordinary. This has always been my favorite time of year, and still is, but it doesn’t hold half the joy it used to. I know that I should find joy in the actual truth of Christmas, that it shouldn’t be contingent upon my present circumstances. I know that. But I think Sufjan sums it up perfectly (AS ALWAYS)— “Silent night, holy night/Silent night, nothing feels right.” I feel like a 2006 teen putting an AIM away message up by quoting song lyrics, but it’s just so…perfect.
But despite all that,
I’ve been really captivated by Isaiah 25 the last few weeks. Don’t be too impressed. I work for a church and we discuss the upcoming sermon text each week, so it’s literally part of my job (one of the best parts, tbh). But this one part of one verse has given me some hope in this season of rejoicelessness-induced guilt.
He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.
I daily do God a disservice by ignoring the fact that He is big enough to swallow up death forever, to eternally put an end to decay and pain, but cares so deeply that even though He holds worlds in His hands, He will gently and tenderly comfort me. Do you see that? I mean, the biggest, greatest Being loves so personally and intimately that not only will He put an end to sadness and grief on the greatest scale possible, but He will lay aside the cosmos to look you in the eyes and wipe your tears away. I forget that a lot.
In Luke 2, after the angels appeared to the shepherds and the shepherds found Mary and Joseph and Jesus, it says that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I’ve been trying really hard the last few weeks to keep that verse from Isaiah tucked away in my heart where I can quickly pull it out to remind myself that God is merciful. That this immeasurably powerful Being hurts when I hurt and when I see Him one day, He will actually wipe the tears from my face. He won’t pat me on the head and say “there, there, it’s not so bad.” He won’t avoid me when I cry. He’ll move closer to me and wipe my tears away.
I’m going to take one from Mary’s book and treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart, especially in my rejoicelessness.