Christmas Reality

I came back to the office this morning and and opened a Christmas card and letter which had come during my time away.  The second sentence from my friend said, “I pray that you had a good Christmas.”  We haven’t spoken since I sent a letter to him before Christmas, so he had no idea how I spent the time in between.  Many who are familiar with the events of my Christmas would say there is no way anyone could consider it “good”.  You see, my mother passed away on Christmas day.  She was only 73, had been in good health, and was serving the poor of a local community when she had the stroke that eventually took her life.  She left behind a lonely, heartbroken husband of 52 years.  Would I consider that a good Christmas?  Would I consider it a good Christmas day when my father, brother, and I had to make that excruciating decision to stop life support for my mother?  Would I consider it a good Christmas day as I stood by her bed and watched her breathing get slower and slower until she breathed no more?  My answer to all of these questions is YES!  In fact, this may have been the first time I ever really celebrated what is called “Christmas”.  Christmas was no holiday for me this year, no “season”, no tradition.  I was not allowed to get lost in parties and dramas and cantatas and candies and decorations.  As I watched my mother drift off Sunday afternoon I couldn’t have been any more focused and any happier that God the Son set aside the form of God and took on the form of man, was born of a virgin, to live and die as the righteous Substitute for sinners!  The incarnation of Christ was my rock, my confidence, my peace, and my joy this year like never before.  My mother is face to face with her Savior because that Savior was born to live and die for her some 2000 years ago.  I pray that all of you had as good of a Christmas as I did this year!