Relaxing in his comfy chair after setting up the tree, Which one is your favorite? Curled up on the couch, hugging pillow, I’m staring straight past him at silver circling two long-ago lovers skating across festive green. Mine too, he gleefully agrees, on his feet and confirming our communion.
We haven’t always agreed. We’ve slammed doors, spun gravel, and threatened lawyers. But back then, in 1982, our first Christmas, all our impressions of love could be summed up in a white dress and suit. We saw ourselves gliding over any storm. Arm in arm against all odds. One thin, bent hook was enough to hold all we knew about ourselves, each other, and our promise to love.
Then one day when the whole of our own humanity piled up, we questioned whether love was strong enough to withstand our unspeakable brokenness. We wondered if love was real or made-up. Were all the rumors of happily ever after a cruel joke on naïve newlyweds? But what we were really asking was—Does God really love us? We’d been in churches our whole lives. We’d walked the stations of the cross and confessed our sins. Still, assurance of God’s love never entered in. Did the unseen God see us now? Did the all-knowing know we were hanging on by a thread?
Dangling there between twinkling lights and pine needles, we remember how close we came to destruction. How easily we could have been misplaced, all hope forgotten, our lives pitched in pieces.
Our greatest fault can be forgetfulness. God has never forgotten us. Two-thousand years later his mercies remain clear as stars above, Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place.
How desperate we were before Love swooped in. Fumbling to know what or who love was. When all my interpretations of love went dim, I found I hadn’t the capacity to love, and the light of God’s love turned on.
Remember what the Lord your God has done. The troubles of the past are for leaving in the dust—but victories in Christ need reverent remembering! Remember when he spoke, and your spirit birthed out of darkness? Remember when your hopes crashed, and confidence arose. When you felt abandoned, and comfort came? Remember when the diagnosis burned, and courage took you through the flames? When weeping consumed you, and laughter visited you? How you thought you had nothing—and he remained?
Never forget—the God who fought for you then fights for you now. The Lord who brought you out is all in on bringing you up. Keeping your mind on his love above. Setting your feet on holy ground.
A coaster sized ornament has been packed and carried from one living space to another. Buried under wreaths and garland, stockings and tinsel that have long been donated and updated. Somehow it was never lost. Here, this year, we remember what our God has done. We remember how the Christ appeared and religion jeered. How lowly shepherds hurried, and wise guys believed. Remember the God who promised his coming is coming again!
We celebrate the wonder of his indwelling love. Who turned water to wine, curses to blessing, beggar to bride, enemy to heir. We remember how we could not know love until we were known by Him.
Blind apart from thy loving kindness, O Lord, now I see, is better than life.