You swerve down the street of a lavish suburban neighbor.
The road winds like a deep black river and Christmas lights twinkle all around you, reflecting off the water under your tires.
The music ringing in your ears says deck the halls, but as you arrive home, the walls are bare and the space dark.
It says joy to the world, but you struggle to even breathe in air. Each breath stemming not from merry but despair.
The pain of loss at Christmas overwhelms your body, causing physical aches at wounds unseen.
It feels like drowning, shouting for help, but no one can hear you. There are others shouting, but you cannot seem to reach them.
The ones dealing with physical pain,
The ones dealing with mental anguish,
The ones dealing with fractured families,
The ones dealing with deep conflict,
The ones dealing with life lost.
Death, of body or soul, weighs so immense and us so small.
Your soul cries out to a God you can no longer feel in the air around you.
You plead with the God of your childhood to release you from the anguish that has met you in adulthood.
Release the sorrow in my soul. Fill my heart with light. Awake me from this never ending sleep. It becomes the mantra of your prayers.
The immeasurable pain within you does not disappear with your prayers, like they said it would, but hurts more as your cognizance grows in times of reflection.
And yet, despite the weight that sinks into your skin, you find something.
Inexplicably, while drowning in a deep water, you find moments of breath.
In the suffering and prayers of anguish, you find a passing moment of tranquility.
The tender mercy of a God you once knew, reaches out from the unknown and gently holds you in its embrace.
The calm that accompanies the presence of Christ shines on the darkness in your soul, lightening the shadow of death trying to overtake you.
The birth of Christ guides your feet into a path of peace, if only for a moment.
There will come a time when the sting of loss has weakened.
You will look at the lights and sing songs with joy you once knew.
There will come a time when you recognize God in the space and air around you each day.
But until then, do not let death defeat you or hold you forever in its storm.
Search for the moments of peace, for the feelings of calm, and for the glimpses of God wherever you may find them.
While the deaths in your life and heart are profoundly real and desperately strong,
So is the ever-giving life, in small and sleepy places like a stable,
waiting to be found and bring hope to your heart.
After the Storm by Mumford and Sons
Celtic Prayer: You Are God
You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm
You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart’s eternal spark
You are the door that’s open wide
You are the guest who waits inside
You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor
You are my Lord and with me still
You are my love, keep me from ill
You are the light, the truth, the way
You are my Saviour this very day.