I stitched Jonathan’s name on his stocking last night and carefully tucked it up right there next to his brother’s when it was finished. And I glanced back to look at them all lined up like that and the tears welled up instantly. I know I’ve already said it, but I think the hardest part of Christmas decorating for me in those ten years of delayed fertility was the stockings. Our two always looked so lonely hanging up there alone, that very same mantle suddenly cavernously larger and gapingly empty. “I know,” I would think then, in an unspoken commiseration with the inanimate mantle. “I feel the same way.” This mantle has quietly observed the full rollercoaster of most of the last 15 years (save those Maui dream-years). It’s perfectly angled to face the kitchen table where I spent morning by morning digging and wrestling and asking the hard questions and finding Spirit-solace in the wait. It was in perfect view of my weeping-into-the-carpet that morning that God told me He wasn’t going to heal Shawna and that my job for the next six months was to pray her into heaven. And it provided the fire-glow in the first weeks after her death when Josh and I pushed the couches together to make a bed and watched a Batman marathon of movies on Christmas Eve, just the two of us. It looked on as I walked through the garage door for the first time after we moved home with a toddler and a swollen, pregnant belly. And again as we walked through the front door with our second miracle babe. It has tiny handprints on its glass and paint splatters on its hearth and proudly carries the weight of those four stockings after silently watching me carry the years-long weight of wishing for them.
This year, it holds our two sons’. And next year, it will also hold our baby girl’s. But, friend, regardless of how your mantle looks, we can rejoice in this one, miraculous & marvelous truth, in waiting or in fullness: to you and to me, a Son is born. To you and to me a Son is given. His name is Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. And The God Who Sees … so much more than your fireplace mantle could possibly ever observe.
So this weary world? It can rejoice.