First of all, Merry Christmas season and Happy New Year from Shawn and I at Katholic Beads & More! Our Christmas week didn't turn out so merry this year and our New Year didn't start out very happy, though we did have a wonderful quiet and happy Christmas with family on Christmas eve (with one half of the family) and Christmas day (with the other half). A few days into the octave of Christmas, our truck died its final death. Then, worse, my mother's dog, Molly (who was my mother's pride and joy and who I basically loved as if she were my own dog) started having seizures that afternoon and died at 4 a.m. in my arms. It was the most unexpected and horrific thing I have ever experienced. She was a beautiful 8-year-old poodle who was all sweetness in a dog. (This is a picture of Molly and I from this Christmas. Our poodle Mia lost her best buddy too.) Then on New Years Eve, a trip to the ER and my husband was admitted to the hospital for a few days.
In the midst of sorrow, shock, exhaustion... my heart felt heavy and not very festive this Christmas-New Years season. Every night still I have vivid images of Molly dying and remembering what an awesome and sweet dog she was, squealing for joy every time I came to my mom's front door up until even two days before she died. I knelt in front of the Baby Jesus in shock and in tears. What is happening? Our hearts are broken and the pain seems to block out the joy of the season.
I remembered what Christopher West had said (reminded by my brother) during a course Shawn and I took, to let Jesus into my memories, into my deepest wounds and pain so that he can heal and transform them. We often hide these from God and try to lick our own wounds, but He wants to be there. That wisdom made it less lonely and a little less heavy to have Jesus there with me in my memory as I held a limp dog in my arms, overcome with anguish and sorrow. I tried to live Christmas in the present moment inviting Jesus, who came into the messiness of our world over 2,000 years ago, to come again into the messiness of my life, of my memories. Jesus didn't come as a powerful, rich king born in a palace. He came as a poor, tiny baby, into a cold world, from an imperfect family history, to bring God into it. I begged Him to come into my world, my life, to bring His peace, His healing, His hope... to remind me that this is the journey and that I am called into His Kingdom, which is not of this earth.
As I continue to search for hope and meaning in sorrow, pain and loss, I am reminded in the Book of Revelation 21:3-5:
“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”
The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
So as we begin this New Year, we ask Baby Jesus, who has come again this Christmas to dwell in our hearts, wipe away our tears and give us strength, please make all things new. Jesus, I trust in You!