I grew up going to big family gatherings at Christmas. They were always so much fun. Laughter, joy, reminiscing, hugs. Over the past several years, things have been different, to say the least. Isn’t that how things seem to go, as you grow up? As you learn more about the realities of the world, experience hurt?
The things that were whole slowly but surely begin to crack and give way. Then before you know it you’re living in a new normal, with beauty still hiding here and there, but with things looking all together different than you’d hoped or expected. We’re standing in the cracks.
The magic of Christmas may still be there, but now we see it inside of eyes on small faces, remembering what was once ours. We remember a world in which everything was just right; a world that has now been tainted by the truth of what is and what has been. We can see the darkness now.
Ever since my dad left us just over two years ago, I think the biggest shift in my mindset has been my perception of heaven and of the life that is to come.
God was extremely gracious to give us some glimpses into the way he speaks to those in deep grief, through his creation, shortly after he passed.
Those glimpses opened my eyes to the fact that heaven is not only a “destination,” but has begun here and now, for those of us who have taken the leap of faith to follow the one true God. The veil between the two- heaven and earth, thinned more than I ever imagined possible, in my heart and mind. I imagined the workings of another dimension all around, weaving circumstances, people, relationships.
This naturally led me to start imagining what heaven must be like. I wanted to understand, to see a little more clearly. Some books have helped, but sometimes I like to imagine what my homecoming will be like. It makes me smile. Not only will it be a reunion with all of the dear ones who have gone before me, but it will be the healing of all of the darkness inside and around me. Miles and miles and miles of lush landscapes, beautiful cultures, the fulfillment of every hope and wildest dream, all because the one true source of goodness and light is there.
I can only imagine that when someone new arrives, the ones who loved them beforehand will all be there, celebrating.
Lots of bright shining faces, the same faces but somehow brand new, with reminiscing and plenty of hugging. Then, they’ll invite us into all that has been in store for us- the fulfillment of the selves we were made to be. That’s what I want to imagine this Christmas.
You may be feeling, like me, the weight of brokenness when someone who brought so much life is gone. I hope that you might be able to spend a moment thinking about what those parties and gatherings will be like later. When all is whole again. There, my friend, lies true hope. Hope in the one who became human in the most vulnerable way possible, as a tiny baby in a grungy stable. He is why we get to imagine what’s ahead. He is why we get to know that it’s not just a dream or fantasy. It’s real. And it’s all going to be okay, eventually.