The gifts are wrapped beautifully, in shiny silver and red paper, under the tree, waiting for Christmas morning. The anticipation is about to kill my oldest daughter. She has an idea of what she might find under there and she can't wait. I told her the longer she waits the more she will appreciate what she finds in those boxes, when the time is right to open them. It's hard to wait. I know how she feels, but there is something about waiting that makes those gifts so much more special, the longing so much more intense.
I lay in bed this morning with my eyes closed long minutes after I woke up. She was there in my dreams this morning and I didn't want to let her go. I wanted her to stay with me. I miss her. Christmas time was my Mother's absolute favorite time of year. She made it special for my brother and I... if there is anytime of year that we can not ignore that she is gone, it's now. Every thing from the day after Thanksgiving, when we decorate, until the day after Christmas, reminds me of her. I'm reminded of the good times when we were little and it was all so fun, and I'm reminded of the last Christmas, when she was sick, and I know she knew it would be her last. She brought boxes of decorations over for me to go through (she said her house was too small for all that stuff), and I had always begged for her to give some of her abundance to me. She had 3 generations of Christmas decorations... things I had seen every year for my whole life. Here they were, all for me. Now they are sitting all around my house. My constant reminder of a loving Mother.
The dream passed and with it the all the details, all that remains is the feeling that she's thinking of me too. Just a brief moment in my sleep to let me know I will see her again.
What I used to love about Christmas was the lights, the tree, the gifts, the family gatherings... but since my mom died the deeper meaning of Christmas has eclipsed all those other things. Now when I think about that baby in the manger my thoughts go straight to the man on the cross. I will never be able to just celebrate the birth of a King, who brought news of God's good will toward men, I will never not be drawn immediately to the image of the KING on the CROSS. The King who laid down his life for me, who was bruised for my sins, who took my place, so that I could have a place with HIM in heaven.
Heaven... my home. This life is a long journey to that place. The Bible says "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor can we even imagine the things God has prepared for us." In God's word we get a little glimpse of what it will be like, but our minds could never even imagine what we will find. We will be with our God. There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sickness, no more sin, NO MORE DEATH. A perfect place, with a perfect God.
Heaven... her home. Heaven will be the place that we see those we love again. Just like my daughter might have some idea what she might open Christmas morning, I have some idea what I will see that day. I will see her... my Mother, but she won't be like she was before. She won't be sad, she won't be sick, she won't be worried, she won't be in pain. While I'm waiting to see her that day, my longing for her grows, and with it my anticipation for HOME.