A military mom struggles with a son’s deployment at Christmas before letting in God's warmth and love.
Posted in , Dec 21, 2017
I learned a valuable lesson the year our son was deployed during the holidays. As the world around me grew more festive, my soul grew darker and darker. First, the separation was tough since he was the first to fly from the nest and miss Christmas. Next, there was the fear I felt for his safety. Then there was build-up of self-pity that came crashing down in an avalanche of resentment toward everyone whose child was at home that Christmas. Finally there was the fact that the days became shorter the closer we got to the winter solstice. Right at the time when I needed daylight the most, the world seemed to shut down.
When my grandson was having problems with relationships in a new job, I knew right where to send him—the Guideposts website, where he’d be able to read the work of Dr. Norman Vincent Peal. My grandson is finding it helpful not only at work but in his relationships in general. - JANE C., Cumming, Georgia
On December 22 my frustration came to a head. I woke to the sound of my alarm clock in a room that was still pitch black. I focused on the blinking numbers that represented the time and tried to process how it could be so late and so dark at the same time. I forced myself from the bed and into my morning routine.
As the sun struggled over the horizon, I was oblivious to the beautiful sunrise the clouds made until my husband pointed it out. I grimaced at his attempt to be positive and kept up an internal monologue. I took God to task for scheduling Christmas around the darkest time of the year.
Finally, when even I couldn’t stand my attitude anymore, I turned to my Bible and found the passage that describes the coming of Christ. As I read the familiar passages, the contrast of a dark world and the birth of God’s son began to permeate the blanket of self-pity I had pulled close around me.
I might not have the sunlight I craved on that day, but I did have the light of the Son. And I could choose to let Him shine in me or ignore His light. I took a deep breath and let go. I quit fighting my circumstances and a lightness flooded my soul. Yes, my son was still gone, but he was safe (relatively) and unharmed. And the rest of my family was there with me. There were reasons to be joyful; I’d just forgotten them when I let the darkness overwhelm me.
Many of us struggle with the holidays. Perhaps we’ve lost someone we love and the memories are harder this time of year. Or the stresses of our to-do and to-buy lists have added a burden too hard to carry.
Instead of giving in to the darkness on the shortest day of the year, make the conscious decision to let in the Light and feel the healing warmth of God’s love.
The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned. (Matthew 4:16, HCSB)