It's Christmas time and I cannot help but remember my mother at this time of year. She was Mrs. Christmas, Mother Christmas, Grandma Christmas. Whatever name you want to apply. She thrived on colored lights, lit candles, wrapping paper and bows, cards, pine trees and trimming, hand knit Christmas stockings, and the list goes on.
Mom passed away thirty years ago but that first Christmas after her funeral in September still pierces my heart. About a month before Christmas, I received a call from a friend of hers who said she didn't know what to do with some gifts my mother had ordered from her. Mom had bought seven light weight jackets, one for each of our kids and Bob and I, and asked her to embroider our names and the name of our sailboat on the jackets. They were all finished and paid for if I wanted to pick them up. I did. And I wrapped them and experienced the most bitter sweet moment of my life when we unwrapped gifts that year.
While time has passed--lots of time, there is still that little pinch each year at this time. I know there are many others who go through the same emotion each year because of losses in their lives. I spoke with a man recently who lost his wife several years ago and couldn't understand why it still hurt so much. For some reason the verse in 2 Corinthians 12 came to mind where Paul talks about having a thorn in his flesh.
Sorrow and grief is kind of like that. It pokes us at times and often when we don't expect it even if it's been many years since our loss. Like a thorn that's been embedded in the flesh, it hurts a lot at first, then lessens but every so often, it pinches us again but as God told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you."
The memories God has graced me with of my mother make that pinch of grief bearable. So I will think of Mother Christmas and all her quirky ways of showing her love through our holiday season and thank God for her. We've all outgrown our jackets but we'll never outgrow the memories.