The boy tiptoes into the kitchen where I’m leaning against the stove muttering hot words over boiling macaroni.
“What’s wrong, mom?” asks the boy.
“Nothing . . . ”
But the boy hears the something in my “nothing,” and I repent.
“It’s not nothing, buddy, but you don’t need to worry.”
“It’s your family isn’t it? I heard you talking with Dad.”
The ears on this boy!
“Yes and no. I’ll be ok.”
The boy hesitates, questions lingering in blue eyes. But he sighs heavy, hugs me fierce, and fades out of the room.
I grab the boiling pot and pour macaroni into strainer.
Why do I do that? Say “nothing” when it’s really something? Why do I put on my Sunday face when sorrow weighs heavy and it hurts to breathe?
It’s easier to say “nothing” because saying something means naming the thing that hurts, and this time of year, when I should be dreaming of a white Christmas and gathering round the fire with family, naming the shards of broken memories bleeds me weak.
Just last night, digging through a bin of old ornaments, my fingers clasped a mini-wine bottle and I remembered the face that bought it—the bearded, grey-eyed brother I haven’t seen in six years.
Or I’m looking through the family photo album and I flip to page with the black-n-white ultrasound of our twelve-week-old babe, the one whose silent heart and broken body bled out of mine one Christmas years ago.
Or I hear the echo of a doorbell and remember huddling on the living room couch on Christmas Eve while an angry man—my father—stood on the other side of our front door ringing the bell and threatening, “This is the end of our relationship!”
This world is broken, and broken isn’t “nothing”—it’s something hard and it hurts.
It’s easy to fall cynical in a sea of plastic smiles, jingles, golden bells, and fat, laughing Santas.
Our eyes—blinded by sin and suffering—miss the shadows of heaven.
It’s easy to miss the beautiful when our eyes are fixed on the broken.
Only the one who was broken for us can help us see the “not yet” in the already.
Already he’s opened my eyes to the cynical pride that tells me I see everything when I really see nothing at all—
He’s helping me see glimmers of glory in children hugging, laughing, fighting, in the heart-honesty of a soul-sister–“Please pray. I want to love my mom, but it’s hard, you know?!” And in my husband as he grabs my hand gentle and draws me to my knees saying, “Pray with me. We can’t do this on our own.”
Each face—a shadow of the promise that someday we will stand in the presence of Glory.
Not crawl or limp, but STAND.
And this—standing in the presence of Glory—is the “not yet” we cling to.
This broken life will not break us because the one who was broken for us will keep us till the end.
Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes and shelter us under the Shadow of His Wings.
He will guide us to springs of living water and we will never thirst again.
So this Christmas and all through the year, may we cling to the Broken One and pray for eyes to see the beauty of the “not yet” that is already ours in Him.
Project Pursued Questions
How do you respond to the weight of a broken world, broken family, broken heart during this time of year? Do you carry the weight to Jesus in prayer? Do you tell him what hurts and why and call out to Him as the healer and comforter? Write out your prayers—past sorrow, present pain and pray them back to Him. Ask a friend to pray with you and for you—that God would keep you and give you eyes to see his redemption at work in the midst of brokenness.