Can you believe tomorrow is Christmas?! One more sleep and counting! (I can’t help smiling as I’m writing this. Christmas never gets old, does it?)
Christmas morning for us is always busy. We’re up at sparrows: one of us preparing to preach; the other, chasing kids to tidy the house because the hordes are coming for lunch. We always seem to be hosting Christmas lunch - probably because we love it and always offer. On top of that, it’s Richard’s birthday, and we need to do our ‘birthday ring’ - gathering on the king-sized bed to read out our cards and tell Dad what we love about him.
So Christmas Eve is when we do our presents. This year we got the boys each a puzzle, Jada some notebooks to take down sermon notes, and Kiara some lipstick and mascara for ballet shows. Then Kiara and Jed decided they wanted to buy everyone something, and Rourke felt bad so returned the favour. Jada was late to the party, but got presents for all eight of us, leaving Sam, Kade and Ty scrambling in their treasure boxes for something to wrap and give away. By the time we all left for church on Christmas Eve, the base of the tree was hidden behind a pile of gifts.
Late that night, when we finally regrouped - after the chaos of life-interrupted - we told the children what had happened, and made the decision to wait. Christmas Day came and went, then Boxing Day and hope looked bleak. I wondered if we shouldn’t just do the presents, giving the family a touch of normality. But Richard couldn’t do it. “I have to believe she’ll wake up and join us.”
Six-year-old Tyden asked the question, If Kiara doesn’t come home can I eat her sweets? Waiting for Christmas was some days just as hard as trying to comprehend why Kiara wouldn’t come.
And isn’t the waiting always harder the less we understand? God-in-heaven knowing, watching us waiting, willing us to trust and hope.
This morning the boys were taken to the beach. Surf and sunshine for their souls. And would you know it? They saw dolphins! Not just saw them, but surfed with them, too! Within arm’s reach, popping up beside them and swishing the water underneath their feet. What extraordinary favour! Creator-God blessing, favour in the waiting.
God’s favour has reached us all daily, in our waiting, in our hoping. Little touches of heaven, reminding us he’s not forgotten our desires in the wait. Not delayed, not unable, just Father awaiting the perfect time.
The day I worried about starting school, a qualified teacher offered to help for the term. The day I needed to order maths books, the supplier got hold of me and asked if she could send it all as a gift, knowing what I usually ordered. The day I looked at all the extramural lifts and wondered who could fetch from gymnastics, an unknown mommy sent a message, saying she’d noticed her boy was in Rourke’s class. “Can I bring him home for you on Wednesday and Friday?” I marvel at God’s attention to detail. His favour in the waiting.
Keep hope alive as you long for God to come through for you. And yet, he’s spoon-feeding us hope day and night.
Kiara is missing Bear, our Golden Labrador. She’s missing home and her beautiful room. She’s missing finding work easy. She’s missing life as she knew it.
But she’s already on academic assessments - to me they look like about Grade 3/4. And she’s nailing them - 95%. But only in the first ten minutes, and then she tires and struggles to think.
There’s still waiting. There’s still hoping. But there’s favour in the wait. Tomorrow we have Christmas, and at least Tyden is seeing his hope fulfilled. The boys have waited patiently, and now Dad says the timing is right.
We all continue to wait on the Lord, trusting his promises to be true. But there’s favour in the waiting. Spoon-fed hope for our weary hearts.
Prayers for tonight:
For Kiara’s concentration to improve
For her fatigue and for blessed rest.
That she and we would have wisdom in the waiting.
For a good decision to be made this week about whether to move to a neuro-rehab or remain where we are.
For protection from injury and infection.
For Gregg in Dublin, for his lungs to inflate.
For Nikki’s 3-year-old daughter, Harper, with a malignant tumour on her ear.
For Bev’s brother-in-law with a brain tumour.
For a number of you, trusting for children.
For favour in the waiting.