thanksgiving. solitude. compassion.

Well, I made it through Thanksgiving.

And while I enjoyed being with family, there was a constant heaviness of loss with my mom not being here.

Oh, I tried to just keep moving, stay busy, wash the dishes, stir the Mac-n-cheese, make sure I had all the food set out.

But there was a weirdness to the whole day that I couldn’t shake. Just a realization all over again of how different life is now.

I know holidays are going to be different–everyone says the “firsts” are the hardest. But you can’t cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas just because you’re not exactly feeling festive.

Life goes on. The sun sets and rises on its same schedule.

As I laid in bed Thanksgiving night wide awake, I kept thinking back over that horrible morning in May.  And I kept wondering over and over and over again, “WHAT HAPPENED?!” How in the world is this my reality? What the heck happened?

As I read Matthew 14 this past week, I noticed with new perspective Jesus’ response in his grief over John the Baptist’s death.

Verse 13 says “Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself…”

Jesus heard the horrible, traumatic news of John’s gruesome death and felt the weight of it. This time of year we dwell on the fact that Jesus came to earth in a body–and all of its frailty and limits.  He felt hunger. He felt physical pain. He felt joy. He felt the heaviness of grief and wanted to be alone.

It’s ok if I want to be alone and to have more moments of quiet instead of parties. God has allowed this season of life to be one where I have plenty of time for solitude, for prayer, for groans and big sighs. I am grateful for all of those times.

But, like Jesus, who once He went ashore after His time alone, “saw a large crowd and felt compassion for them,” I hope I will have more compassion for other people when I am out and about these next few weeks preparing for and celebrating Christmas–in the mall, in the grocery store, in my neighborhood and with my family.

Jesus repeatedly met major needs for people and then sent the crowds away. I think this is a beautiful invitation in this Christmas season (and every day!)– to draw near to Him for help and healing and comfort and peace and then go out and BE the light and hope of Christ. There is no better time of the year to shine! A weary world is waiting…

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