Saturday, December 21, 2013

Beautiful Burdens

Today is Winter Solstice. 
The shortest day of the year, and the first day of winter.
From here on out, slowly, the daylight will linger a little longer until eventually there will be enough sunlight to call the days Spring.
In Utah the winters are long and cold and stunning.

We had freezing rain the other day in the wee hours of the morning. 
By daylight the drops had turned to flakes which stuck, then froze fast to the ice encrusted world at our fingertips.
The result was nothing short of stunning, magical and breathtaking.
Every time I look outside this is what I see.

 I can not think of any thing more lovely for Christmas, which is just days away.
Talk about a Winter Wonderland, up close and in person.
But if you look closely at the trees you'll see something else.
Some of the branches are bending beneath the weight, literally breaking off and crashing to the ground.
A huge branch of one of the gnarled together bunch of trees at the end of our road broke beneath the heavy snow and ice, blocking the road for a short time.
Other branches on our tree lined road are hanging so low that our suburban hits them as we drive past.
How can something so beautiful be so heavy to bear?

This time of year, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, and thus the putting into motion the grand plan of salvation God has in store for each of us and our families, I find myself asking the same question. 
His plan is simply stunning.
The love, the simplicity, the design.
To think He sent a Savior so that each of us could overcome sin and death takes my breath away.
I wonder that He suffered for me.
For my shortcomings and blatant sins, which are many.
For my heartbreaks.
At times I feel as though my heartstrings strain at the weight and are ready to snap, much like the fragile branches under the thick snow and ice.
A few short days ago my dear brother-in-law, Brad, lost his battle with cancer, and did he ever fight the good fight!
He never backed down, not for a second.
I still can hardly believe that such a mighty man as Brad can possibly be gone.
He is the newest angel in heaven, watching over his beloved wife and children and grandchildren.
He was too young to leave us this way.
How could he go with most of his grandchildren still unborn, one in the womb this very moment?
Then, a couple days ago was the anniversary of my mother-in-laws passing.
The sting of my children's sweet grandmother being taken is still so fresh.
It's been six years and their memories of her are beginning to fade, which absolutely crushes me.
The loss of my mother figure, my example of how to be a wife and make a marriage with a difficult man last, seemed more than I could hold.
My heart is broken.
I haven't made it thorough a day this season without the tears falling in torrents.
I seem to be going through the Christmas motions, mostly for the kids.
But along with the tears there is incredible joy and peace and gratefulness and beauty.

At times like these it's vital to think of God's beautiful, flawless plan.
Logically we know that death is a certain part of that plan, it simply would not work if none of us ever faced death.
I can't help see the beauty of it, as well as the burden of this life, which for those of us still here, must go on.
It's up to us now to square our shoulders and bear the weight of it all. 
But we need not bear it alone.
"Come unto me!" He said, "For my burden is easy and my yolk is light."
So here's to yet another Christmas season encrusted in sorrow and joy and beauty and life and grief and gratitude for a tiny babe born in a stable.
I wonder if Christmas would be so beautiful and meaningful without the depth and weight of all the sorrow and our absolute dependence on His Only Begotten Son.

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