“These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Christmas is a time for celebration, but it can also be really tough when life brings change.
Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one and you’re keenly feeling the pain of the empty place.
Maybe you moved far from family and friends this year, and the miles between you make it impossible to see them this season.
Perhaps the one who promised to love you forever broke his vows and your heart. Celebrating Christmas is the last thing you feel like doing.
The most difficult Christmas I’ve experienced happened in 1999.
Two months prior, my dad suffered a stroke while standing on a ladder. He fell and ended up with serious head injuries and broken ribs. He’d barely returned home from the hospital when a second stroke hit him. Doctors questioned whether or not he’d survive.
It was the first week of December. I wanted to rush to Dad’s bedside, but I lived on a little island off British Columbia’s west coast and he lived in southern Alberta. I couldn’t afford to fly, so driving was the only option. The trip took about twenty hours and meant crossing the Rocky Mountains in treacherous conditions. It also meant leaving my 12-year-old daughter when she faced surgery. Granted, it was relatively minor but still, I was her mom and I wouldn’t be there for her.
I spent a week juggling time between Dad’s bedside and helping my mom with whatever she needed doing. I also worried about how my family was coping in my sudden absence. I cried every night, dreading the time I’d have to say goodbye and wondering whether it might be the last time I’d see my father alive.
Then came the return trip through the mountains.
On one stretch of winding highway, a sanding truck dumped a load of pea-sized gravel as it approached from the front. The gravel bounced off the road and sprayed across my car’s hood, windshield, roof, and headlights. There was no way to stop on that icy road. The sander kept going and disappeared around a bend, and I did the same in the opposite direction despite the damage done.
Darkness fell and seemed impenetrable with only one headlight still functional. I tucked behind an 18-wheeler and followed it for miles through the most treacherous part of the journey. By the time I reached the coast, my neck was a tense mess and my fingernails seemed permanently embedded in the steering wheel.
By now Christmas was only two weeks away. I felt anything but joyful.
It felt wrong to party while my dad and mom suffered. I felt guilty decorating our home and then buying and wrapping gifts. I felt sad and tired to the core. I didn’t need a tree, presents, and a turkey dinner that year. Neither did I want to attend carol-sings or a candlelit Christmas Eve service.
All I wanted was a big, strong Daddy to wrap me in His arms and say, “I’ve got you. Everything’s going to be okay.” I needed my heavenly Father to hold me safe and embrace me while I slept. I needed Him to infuse me with energy so I could serve my family and make their Christmas special.
Sometimes life is flat-out hard.
Thank heaven we have Jesus—our Everlasting Father—for such times as these. He remains consistent when everything around us changes. He remains constant when circumstances thrust us into a new normal. (Hebrews 1:10-12) He’s always there for us, ready to listen to our cries and eager to help us in our weakness. (Psalm 34:17)
If you’re finding this season difficult, know that you’re not alone. Also know that Jesus, our Everlasting Father, opens His arms wide and invites you to nestle close to His heart. Tell Him how you feel. Accept His invitation, and rest in His never-ending love for you, my friend.
#EverlastingFather #Advent #ChristmasMeditations #JesusCares #ChristmasIsHard