It’s been four years since we were in this city, this state, this home, for Christmas, but if Christmas is His incarnation, redemption born in a stable, then it’s not just a day we’re commemorating; it’s a way of life. A way of life that breathes grace and mercy, wears redeemed like a cloak, and leaves God’s love deep in everything we touch, do, say.
December 25th is one day, one very special day, but it’s not so much different from any other day, because this day and those days God is truth, God is love, and God is just, and Jesus is the perfect redeemer we’re drowning without. The special of today is not that He’s more Him today than any other; the special of this day is that today we’re thinking about it.
Today just as any other this is a building of six separated, but the lines swirl unreadable between neighbors and friends, between friends and family, and there are four breakfast casseroles here. Our ceiling is their floor, all day, every day, but today, we’re all sitting around one table, please pass the mango juice, and can you even imagine the weaving of life strings in this room?
Because I’ve got a story and upstairs has a story, across the hall, too. My story is me and yours is you, but there’s one God who holds all stories in the palm of His grand Story. And I know He’s wise, I know He’s sovereign, because He’s winding each story together and I’ll never quite understand. I’ll never quite understand how story meeting story means there’s wise words to soothe nervous hearts, little hands ready to play together, and six units of family wound together tight just when we need it.
December 25th is a snapshot of a year; close your eyes, I bet you can tell me where you were last 12/25, and the one before and before, well into years behind. True for you and true for me and turn around, last year today the mexican sun was hot and white bright through the VIPS window. And it’s funny because it really all started in this mexican diner chain; Mexico City in 2008, I’d been in Mexico four hours and really didn’t know what I had ordered.
Last year little family squinting in the sun in a downtown Mexico diner, at least we all know what we ordered. This year there’s snow finally, finally, dusting the Chicago streets outside, and I’m peeling dinner potatoes when Mom says call Mexico.
I always hesitate, and I’m really not sure why, but I call the Casa Hogar and Christmas has traditions, they’re all watching movies. But the voice on the other end rings happy, hits deep in my heart. Wise woman, woman whose love binds tight and holds strong. And we’re trading words over this Skype call; asking questions, murmuring assent and understanding, soaking up details because it’s been a long time and it’ll be longer until we’re face to face.
And then Rubi’s on the line and I suddenly realize that different countries, schools, families, skin tones really don’t matter because three years running friendship, Rubi was in my class at school in Mexico. And there’s a grip, a trust settling in my heart, because I trust Him to do well, and I trust Him to do right, and these are not friendships I have to fight to keep a grasp on, these are gifts He’s given because He is gracious.
And later, later, the day’s winding down but my phone is buzzing and cousins are friends, too, and the cousin-sister sends me back to Skype, once more. And it’s funny because I can hear them maybe a little, but they can’t hear me. But a picture is worth a thousand words and a video chat is worth more; words or no words. The other side of the country is 4×6 inches on my computer screen and I’m waving and blowing kisses to family I adore.
And Christmas is a day just like any other, and God is God every hour always, but pause, celebrate: Christmas is so very special, too.