Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas in Heaven

The occasional burst of wind shook long tendrils of moss, as if the tree were bowing its head in sadness, its thick wavy mane lowering to hide its weeping.

It is Christmas, the season of birth, of joy. Perhaps that is why the gray skies and sadness that cover our farm seem to clash, jarring against the happiness found in the manger's babe with peaceful smile, God made flesh resting in the glow of tiny white lights along our stair rail.

Most mornings, I pass the family graveyard, not really noticing the simple gray-white tombstone jutting up out of the grass. Husband mows the "hill" all summer, bleaches the tombstone once or twice a year to push back the humidity-loving black mildew.

Other than that, the graveyard never occupies my thoughts. It is not spooky or creepy or nightmare inducing. It just is. My body will lie there one day, the body of my husband, too, maybe even my children.

But we are Easter people, children of the eternal King. Death is not where we dwell.

Still, it comes.

Saturday afternoon, God decided our Maw Maw needed to spend Christmas in heaven. She died while in prayer with her daughter, Jesus' name on her heart, mind, and lips.

And so on this early morning, I kneel down in the grass to capture just a few images for my children to remember when they forget. With each shutter click, the heavy dew soaks through. More dampness.

To escape this fleshly cocoon to find life...to find real life. In a way, I envy her escape. While I tend to struggle to daily learn in part through that dark glass, I believe Maw Maw has finally grasped the full meaning of the babe in the manger, has finally truly understood how precious and perfect was God's gift to mankind oh those two thousand years ago.

What a precious Christmas gift for her.


  1. Oh wow, what a beautiful tribute, and such lovely prayer. God-bumps from "To escape this fleshly cocoon to find life...to find real life." I am sure she would be so glad to know that you feel this way, looking at your loss as her gain. I'm sorry for your family's loss, but I am so glad for her.

  2. Dear Jennifer
    I have been away too long... and didn't realize how much I had missed you until I decided to pay you a visit this afternoon.

    Here I am at your blog, and I have been here more than an hour. Reading up on the past posts, not hurriedly but taking time to feel what you were writing about.

    How beautifully you write. Really, someday these stories can be the chapters of a book.

    First off, my condolences to you at the homegoing of your Maw Maw. She will have the best Christmas of her life... in heaven with her creator, and with her redeemer!

    I loved the picture of the flowers over her grave.

    And the precious stories you have written of your life:

    - father and sons digging the trench (what is the trench for... to provide a natural barrier in case of prairie fires?)

    - the coming down of the old spire and being replaced by a new one...

    - the story of Mia (I remember reading that one) and the adoption of Hannah...

    - the miracle God did in Emerson, yes we all are in this season of prayer... and I also believe it was a miracle...

    - the monster trap

    - the special handcrafted bird hats for your three children...

    Indeed, this was an afternoon well spent for me.

    Just wanted you to know I do appreciate you, Jennifer.

    May this Christmas season be a beautiful one for you.

    Much love

  3. Oh, Jennifer, just catching this now. I'm so sorry for your loss. Rejoicing with your maw maw. Christmas joy to you and your, my friend.

  4. Jennifer -- I am just now getting here to read this. I am so sorry for your loss, and rejoice, too. (And now I see I'm echoing Lyla's words right above me, but I can't help it.)

    I pray that God is tending to your grieving heart.

    Sending you love.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Lyla and Jennifer. It's been hard to hear Him speak through the heaviness, so odd to rejoice and weep at the same time. I'm thanking God for friends like you and for my loving husband.

  6. sad but happy... I loved this line,"
    But we are Easter people, children of the eternal King. Death is not where we dwell."