There’s something about Christmas time that brings it out. After nearly a year of commercials that focus on every insignificant thing from potato chips to car wax, the holidays are suddenly a bombardment of the other kind of commercials: the happy couple kind. Couples riding on sleighs. Couples giving extravagant gifts. Couples madly, deeply, forever in love.
In many ways it feels like a poking of our wound. As if someone is trying to come into our homes and mock our loss. Even if we never had a relationship that looked anything like those couples. They can be painful to watch. And we can find ourselves longing to be those people.
It’s when these thoughts cross my mind that I’m brought back to one thing: the enemy is playing with my heart.
Remember what this season is about? A child. And a parent’s great love for that child. A love so outrageous that unbearable sacrifices were made so that the whole of the family could become stronger.
And while it’s tempting to look around and imagine all that we’re missing out on, our focus needs to turn to the love sitting before us, beside us, and possibly on our very laps—our children. Because this season offers a unique chance at healing that only comes once a year. Where children become front and center in our lives in tangible ways that have the potential to fill them up for the next twelve months. To love them extravagantly. To fill them with wonder, and hope. To teach them about love, and why Jesus was born, and how the expansion of our hearts during this time is really about him.
Because a tremendous amount of healing can come from a loving parent.
See, it’s no coincidence that the greatest mission of our lives lies right within the walls of our home. Nothing is more important than the building blocks we place in our children’s hearts as they grow. And despite the fact that everyone is rushing to tell us how resilient they are—they need a hero.
That hero can show up in a red suit with white fur and lavish them with gifts. Or, that hero can show up with bedhead and socks with holes in the toes, to snuggle in with them and help them work through their own pain in this season. Someone to step in and help them find healing, belonging, and hope.
Someone to simply love them.
We can be the type of parent who lets this failing of our marriage beat us down where we take on the role of victim and tell our story to anyone who will listen. Or we can do the incredibly hard work of moving on and approaching life differently in order to end at a better place. In order to bring our children to a better place.
Because while we’re busy stepping in and loving them through, God is doing the same for us. And a tremendous amount of healing can come from a loving parent.
He’s taking care of us during this season. Working every aspect of what we’re going through into something good. And while we may feel left behind, or even forgotten, we have to remember that we are still his children: looking at our lives and the world around us through the eyes of a child. Eyes that won’t fully mature until the day we come face-to-face with God. Children that have to lean into our parent at times, and let them hold us, and soothe us, and love on us like only a parent can.
Someone who sees us with the bedhead and torn socks—and thinks we’re precious. Someone who simply loves us.