But here we are. The Broncos somehow have Peyton Manning, are a ridiculous 12-3, and are the prohibitive Super Bowl favorite. My Christmas has been spent getting up early, watching Esther open up a few gifts with Sam, and then finally catching all the way up on Parenthood and spending a good chunk of time in the book of Isaiah while Esther takes a 4+ hour nap (she's still sleeping...).
Let's just say that I am hugely far behind in my Bible reading plan this year. I'm such a scheduled normally routine nerd, this just kills me! It feels like a minor failure to not finish my plan as usual. But there are yet 7 days left this year! Today I spent a bit of time cruising through Isaiah. I was moving through it pretty rapidly until this passage halted me:
In the middle of the prophesies and sometimes drudgery of Isaiah pops this passage that spoke directly to my soul. God planned for me to read this today. There is no other way to say it. This passage is what I hope we celebrate today in our various family traditions and forms. Jesus came to swallow up death forever. He didn't come to give us rules, to steal our joy, to be our dictator, or to make us feel guilty for all our shortcomings. Jesus came to free us from death and to restore our true joy in Him. He came to wipe our tears. He came so that one day he would prepare a feast for us.
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
"Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." (Isaiah 25:6-9)
The fact that he will wipe away our tears infers that we will have many in this life. The past 6 months have been true to that. There will likely be plenty more before this life is done. But he wipes them away. He is near and not far.
You know how many presents I opened today? None. You know how much I really care about that? None. Honestly. I realized last night and today that what I missed most was not even watching my kids open their gifts. I missed just being with family (Sam and the kids are with her family). I realize sitting here that my family and my extended family are huge gifts that I easily take for granted.
And the passage above from Isaiah reminds me yet again of the gift of salvation that I so easily neglect and forget. So I will rejoice in the gift He has given. Life. Freedom. Hope. A feast to come. Access to and friendship with the one true God who is near and who came to us as a humble baby born in a stinky manger. Joy and peace.
And FaceTime. ;-)
Esther is still sleeping (it's a 5hr nap now...)! She'll need platelets again this evening. She just finished a blood transfusion earlier. Transfusions are now a daily occurrence until her body has the capacity to rebuild itself.
Merry Christmas! We cannot express enough to our family and friends and even strangers that have blessed us what a gift you all are to us this season! You have been His hands to wipe away many a tear.