It’s déjà vu here at Number 23. Rich is in the pool washing off the sweat and brick dust after a couple of hours of perfecting the house for Christmas Eve celebrations. The presents are once more multiplying under the tree as the kids cotton on to the season of giving and scramble for forgotten treasures to regift to each other.
But it’s different also. Our devoted and caring church community have excused us for this entire season, giving us time and space. There’s no added pressure of putting finishing touches on sermons, and wondering if the Christmas trees at church have survived the heat.
Of course through the day there are little lumps that come up in my throat to remind me what happened before, but they are measured and manageable bite-sizes of emotion. Kiara broke down yesterday, broken heart at burnt Christmas cookies, and the cookies excuse the tears that need to flow. We whisper in the bedroom, Richard and I, about how much to make of the accident this year. Do we tell our stories, let the kids talk one more time, make the miracle the marvel of the night?
We both feel, No.
This miracle we have been given - it seriously is breathtakingly beyond understanding. It still has the medical-world talking, the faith-world talking, the hoi polloi plodding through life awake and talking. But as beautiful, as precious, as wonderful as this miracle has been, the real marvel of the moment is the Miracle-Giver, and it is his birthday. He is the source of all things, the reason for all things. Through him all things were made and without him nothing was made that has been made.
Kiara’s surgeon has ordered her a gift this year, a book. He remains as grateful and enamoured as we are with her recovery. Time and space was all the good doctor could offer us last Christmas, all he could give Kiara. Time and space, and we regifted it to God and he did his work.
Time and space is the best our loving church could give us this year, and we have given it to God, and he has done his work. The memories that fill our minds on this anniversary are not painful, jarring, jumbled. They have been placed into the annals of His Story, and they are mere pages in an epic narrative. Once again, God has taken our offering of time and space, and multiplied our gift back to us as healing and life.
And so, as the presents pile up under the tree, I know what I’ll give Jesus this year - an extended offering of time and space. And we will hope with anticipation at all he will do with it as we marvel at the miracle of Christmas.