December 24, 2008

365 Days of Christmas

2008 1536 page7 capT’S AN INKY 35 DEGREES OUTSIDE AND I AM CONFRONTED WITH THE sound of an infant whimpering. I know what comes next: full-scale screaming. Less than 10minutes ago shewas peacefully sound asleep—with dreams ofwarm milk dancing in her head.
Or so I thought.
Sensing her aloneness, although warmly swaddled in a blanket, she seeks the comfort of company. I turn to gather her in my arms.My writing will have to wait.
All in the Maran house is not as “Silent Night” describes. Calm? Bright? No. Hectic, scary, dark. As we observe the holidays, my brief bouts of euphoria and joy are pounded away by uncertainties, doubts, and fears. The struggle to stay afloat in a sinking economy is just part of the scene. The task of trying to keep our children safe is also only a piece. Worldwide suffering and sadness rule on a grand scale—I’m not blind to this either.
But what of Christmas? The Christ of it all?
This evening I had my skewed vision adjusted. My eldest wanted me to sing for her at bedtime. A song from a childhood play popped into my head, and as the words emerged from mind and mouth I thought of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Dispersed throughout their messages both prophets bring us a recurring portion of comfort: fear not, God is with us. In Christ everything will be OK. We cry, feeling alone, and He will swaddle us. He will restore our peace. Yes, He will.
I forget this sometimes. And sometimes it seems so implausible. But I—we—must persevere. Undaunted, we must believe. He will keep us. Protected, we are not alone. His birth, and His death, have confirmed it. Fear not.
The words that helped renew? “Ev’ry day a day to smile, God’s love shining all the while . . . 365 days of Christmas each year.”

Kimberly Luste Maran is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review.