This Christmas, BB is singing two Messiah concerts. As I listened this past weekend, I pulled out the Bible to follow along with Isaiah 40 as he sang:
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
One of my favorite prophecies of Advent. There’s no way that the Isrealites could have really understood what God was promising them. Nor could they have known how long it would be before that voice cried out from the wilderness.
Yesterday I decorated the Christmas tree. I love decorating the tree. Put on my Bing Crosby Holiday Pandora station and pulled out the bins from the basement. It’s such a Christmas tradition – transforming our residences into a festive celebration. I loved doing this as a family when we were kids. We would pull out the old ornaments, trying to remember who made which ones. There’s this Christmas tree ornament that my parents still hang that I made in preschool. It’s just construction paper with a few crayon scribbles. My sisters try and convince my parents to throw it away, but it keeps surviving each year. [I’m watching you girls.]
The holidays for me are a time to remember. I remember leaving out cookies for Santa, and in the morning, there would be crumbs and a thank you note. I remember waking up really early one year when Santa decided to save money on wrapping paper (I think my baby sister was about 6 weeks old at Christmas), so all the gifts were laid out under the tree unwrapped. I was able to play with my new Barbie and swimming pool before anyone else awoke.
This year I found the Christmas ornaments that my mom made last year for Freddy and Carolyn. I found the stockings my Grandmother made for them. I remember. Last Christmas, we were sure that it would be our last Christmas without them. They had a few gifts under the tree, lovingly selected and wrapped by their soon-to-be new grandparents, aunts and uncles. It felt slightly risky, but we were confident that God was bringing them home to us in 2012. We were filled with anticipation and excitement for the next Christmas when we could share with them our holiday traditions.
A friend of mine is in China right now picking up her son. Another friend is returning from Uganda tomorrow with her son. We were all in the adoption process together – supporting each other, praying for each other. While I am so happy for them, I am jealous. So very jealous.
People always ask us if we are relieved that the adoption didn’t work out since we are pregnant, and four kids would have been too many. Meaning well and admittedly, we were quite overwhelmed with the idea of four kids at once, the answer is a resounding no. We are gladdened that the children have been reunited with their family – it’s where they should be. But we do not feel relieved of the burden. We feel cheated. We are still grieving this loss. It was a burden we wanted. It was a burden we prayed for, hoped for, longed for.
Unlike the Isrealites, I am blessed to know exactly how the story ends. I know that God is not promising me an earthly victory. There’s no promise that next Christmas we will be parents. But I have promises that are much bigger than parenthood. I will take comfort in those promises knowing that God will supply all my needs.