“Long before silver bells jingled, Christmas lights twinkled, and horse-drawn sleighs went dashing through the snow, God reached down from heaven with the best gift of all.

Love, wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Hope, nestled in a manger.”

Liz Curtiz Higgs from The Women of Christmas

I sit in the dark, twinkling lights surround, clock ticking softly in the background, pondering the season, sheep and shepherds, a baby swaddled in strips of cloth. Marveling in the mystery of it all.

I’ve needed this quiet space among the white twinkling lights. Space to deflect distractions, space to reflect and gaze upon The Gift. To hear the gasp of shepherds when the angel appeared.

Time to count the blessings, the gifts, even those that came in the unholy hard.

“But the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” Ann Voskamp from One Thousand Gifts 

The last of the Christmas gifts lay strewn across the bed waiting to be wrapped. Still, I sit.

This is the week we tie bows on the past, carry the old with us into the new.

Six months, eighteen days later, we will sit in a room, come face to face with the man who held my husband’s heart, his life, in his hands. The scar puckered and visible, he unconsciously rubs as if he remembers too. The fear that occasionally snakes its way around my own beating heart, squeezes it tight.

We will sit in the office where my own broken story spilled out. Three full years in to chronic illness, P.O.T.S. it’s called. This very week, three years back, I looked down to purple toes, glanced in a mirror that appeared broken, half my face not visible to me. The fear of “what in the world is happening to me?” poignant as it was that day.

The fourth year begins and still there is no cure, only more that heaps and builds up, one thing on top of another and another.

And yet, we have come so far. Come to a place in the wilderness where the bounty has been plentiful and manna falls from the sky. But God. But Grace.

Gifts of grace strewn along the wilderness marathon, they push and prod us forward in this journey. Reminds us we are not alone, we are held. Reminds us, He goes before us and prepares a way.

I shudder at the thought I could have missed all this.

As the year fades towards its end, I pray the eyes of our hearts are opened to the gifts, the abundance provided in our unholy hard. I pray yours as well.

Wrap This One Up by Christy Nockels plays over and over as I wrap the gifts. Savor the abundance, the thrill of hope.

The holy hush of the coming King.

 “God reached down from heaven with the best gift of all.”

You can pick up Christy’s Christmas album here:

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Gifts of Grace