Christmas has taken a dramatic turn in these parts. On Thursday morning, my dad went into the hospital with mild chest pain that turned out to be the result of a heart attack requiring quadruple or quintuple bypass open heart surgery.
I’m so grateful that he made it to the hospital, and I’m confident that the surgery will go well, but this daddy's girl is still heavy-hearted. Despite the positive prognosis, the "what-if's" have been haunting me throughout the holiday. As we wrapped gifts, what if he hadn’t gone in when he did? As we dressed the kids for church, what if the surgery doesn’t go as planned? As we bite into Jesus’ birthday cupcakes, what if he can’t give up his pre-breakfast cookies?
Needless to say, my Christmas Spirit has dwindled. Instead of “Joy to the World,” I’ve been singing “Be Not Afraid.”
And then I started feeling guilty, because it is almost Christmas after all. Shouldn’t I be able to summon some cheer? Rally for the children?
But that’s just it.
Christmas isn’t about good cheer.
It’s not even about the children (well, not just the children).
Christmas is about Emmanuel. God. with. us.
God is with us all the time, not just when we have the energy for caroling and cookie making. He’s with us when we’re down. He’s an everlasting flame within our own hearts, a comforting father, a bolstering redeemer.
Christmas can be a difficult time for so many people, whether they are celebrating without a lost loved one, struggling with infertility, or fighting to make ends meet. It is in these times that God wants more than ever to be with us.
If there’s any bright side to this melancholy Christmas, I’m hoping that it spurs us to trust His presence ever more throughout the coming year.
Prayers are appreciated to guide the surgeons’ hands tomorrow morning. Merry Christmas!