Grapefruit Moonphoto © 2006 Matt Reinbold | more info (via: Wylio)I’m starting to see the poetic beauty of Christmas at the end of the year, just before winter’s darkness. How else would we appreciate the light?

I’m also learning just why this time of year is so hard for many, and why this season matters so much in the Great Story of Redemption, and why it’s not just about joy and celebration but about waiting and heartache too.

Right now, my parents are in Georgia, my mom trying to figure out how to say goodbye to her daddy. Wednesday afternoon, we got the news nobody wants to hear, that he wasn’t long for this world and there was nothing to be done. It hurts to stay behind, but I have this sense that being here at home, taking care of the stuff of life to keep that stress out of her mind and let her focus on simply being there with him, is the best way to serve my mom. And meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out how to let go, let the grief take its course, and deal with the fact that right now I miss their presence more than anything and am (somewhat selfishly) hoping they’ll be home in time for Christmas.

I’m not sure how to put all this into words, and I don’t know if I want to. It’s still raw and personal, and confusing, because I’ve never lost anyone quite like this. There are people praying on our behalf for peace and hope, and I can feel it in the air around us, mingling with the tension and pain.

But there are little moments of grace too…. when I was feeling especially down at work yesterday morning, not really wanting to talk to anyone or be anywhere, Gisele called me into the lobby like she always does to sort the mail. Our nice mailman gave us both a little surprise…

I swear, I just about cried, and probably would have if we weren’t laughing so hard at his unexpected kindness.

And then the day of the bad news, I had an adorable Christmas card in the mail from my friend Lindsay with one of the kindest letters I’ve ever received. Again, surprising grace.

Tomorrow is the final Sunday of Advent. We’ll light the last candle in church; we’ll complete the little Nativity scene and delight in the joy that morning is coming. I’m feeling like a little kid again, eager for Christmas Day to come. Quickly.

I’ll close off with this, one of my new favorite Christmas songs “I Will Find a Way.” This one was an artist’s vision coming to life, a true labor of love, as you can see if you read this story at The Rabbit Room from the songwriters, Jason Gray and Andy Gullahorn. It takes a few listens to grasp the full beauty of the story, but it’s worth the effort. (I recommend you listen before reading their blog post or the lyrics though, so not to spoil the “plot twist.” :))

Amen. Emmanuel.