Thursday, December 5, 2013

Of Hope and Advent and Tangled Christmas Life

On a cold December day in 1992, my father passed away. 21 years ago today, which sounds like a lifetime, but only sometimes feels like one. Time they say is a healer of sorts, and I suppose that's true. The pain shrinks back into the hidden corners of your heart, and there it sleeps, only now and then lifting its head to look you in the eye.

I see my girls and I remember how very much he loved them. I'm sorry he never knew them as the remarkable women they've become. Sorry especially they missed experiencing so much of life with their Poppie.

When this day rolls around every year I'm often caught by surprise at the peace that floods my soul. The knowledge that my father loved Jesus with his whole heart, and the wonder I feel in knowing this planet earth is only one part of the story being written.

Advent is upon us.
The part of the story that brings us right up to the heart of it all.  

We wait, and we're not so good at the waiting. We're so much better at the doing. In a month without a clean page on the calendar we resist being still, feel guilty even for sitting and taking in the miracle.

This month called December grows louder, more demanding, more commercial with every passing year. A noisy mass of honking horns and crowded lots. Long lists and short fuses. Big spectacles and small breakdowns.

 Life so easily tangling up on itself.

It can be untangled.  

Advent comes in a whisper, arching over and under and through the noise. 
A gift we are given in the middle of a knotty life.  

With Advent comes hope. Hope for this tired troubled earth, and hope in our hearts, all the way to the furthest reaches where grief and disappointment and our deepest longings lay.

On a day marked with memory I celebrate that hope.
I make time to be still...

...I hush the noise and listen for the whisper.  


  1. Nice Joyce. I read a devotion yesterday about this time being like tangled Christmas lights... and that we are trying to get everything straightened out.. Jesus is the shining light. It helps to read devotions, and each others' blogs to stay focused, and to prepare for the celebration of the light of the world.

    My mom has been gone 10 years, and she was sick for years before - so she didn't get "time enough" with my daughters. So, I know what you mean about your Dad. But I like to think that heaven isn't some place so far away that she & he (and all who have passed) can't still check in on their loved ones here on earth.

  2. Beautiful.
    I wonder about that pain called grief. I am still grieving over the loss of my mother as I knew her. The stroke has changed her. She's improved over the last three months, but still, she's not the mom I knew. That mom is in my dreams sometimes and I wake up and the tears come and I grieve some more.
    I wish we could sit in one of our kitchens and have some coffee cake and talk.

  3. So well said, Joyce. I love your description of Advent. I'm sorry for the loss of your dad, and you are so right about the pain shrinking into the hidden corners of your heart. Those of us who lost loved ones in December know how those hidden corners can come to life, though, no matter how long ago. It will be 24 years for me, next week, losing my dad, and 18 years later in the month, losing my mom. I know where they are, though, and am at peace with that, as you are.

    Great photos of your precious girls!

  4. What beautiful thoughts and an excellent reminder.

  5. Lovely thoughts of the season - so hard to wait patiently for The Gift of Christ Love -

  6. Your home looks lovely! I have the same manger. Have a good weekend!

  7. Such a moving post, always share so beautifully from your heart. Your tree looks those big, high windows, too!

  8. Forgot to mention...stop by today! I'm having a giveaway for a Christmas banner! :)

  9. Beautiful.... I love your post. I also have those heart-breaking memories this time of year (my mother) but I get through it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  10. My mother died in 1982, our daughter was 10 months old and our son was a little over 3 years old. She got to see both of them but they never got to know her. ((HUGS)) I believe they are watching from Heaven and now how wonderful their grandchildren are. Your tree looks lovely and how sweet the pictures are with you and the girls working on the tree.