Christmas Eve at our house is anything but a “Silent Night.” How about “Family Circus”? Each year brings a lot of high-energy, high-decibel giving and the opening of gifts. One year, somewhere in the flying wrapping paper, was one overwhelmed two-year-old. Quietly dazed amid the happy din. There was one person who noticed. Grandma, of course.
My Karen slipped unobtrusively to the floor. Found a corner where she and our little guy were quietly working on the toy he had just opened, oblivious to the mayhem all around them. Grandma had created a safe zone in the midst of the craziness. A bewildered little boy had found one safe place. The place was a person. Someone who loved him very, very much.
That’s where I’ve found my one safe place. Along with countless millions of others like me; someone who loves me very, very much. His love is written in blood, shed on a cross to pay for my sins against Him so I could be forgiven and be with Him in heaven forever.
For many years, He blessed me beyond words by letting me do life with a woman who so radiantly embodied His love. But, in these years for the first time in my adult life, the queen of my Christmas continues to be missing at Christmas. She went Home very suddenly. It was a day like no other. So, you know, while we’re singing and reading about Jesus, she’ll be with Him, face-to-face.
I got a note from a friend that captured in a sentence the heart of this family. It said, “It seemed someone so fully alive and vibrant couldn’t possibly have left us.” That says it all. Back when it was our first “empty chair Christmas,” she was so missing. She still is. And so missed. In many ways, she was a harbor for me on my stormiest days.
Then, in an instant, I was on my own. So I guess I’m that shell-shocked little boy this Christmas. And Grandma, well once again, not here.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “One Safe Place This Christmas.”
My safe place still is here on Christmas. Because in the words of Romans 8:39, our word for today from the Word of God,”nothing can ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The only love on earth that death cannot take away. I have tested this love. I have proven it in my darkest hour – that “the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) What a beautiful word “safe.”
When the grief ambushes trigger the tears again, the anchor holds. When loneliness resurfaces without warning, Jesus just holds me closer. When the prospect of doing the years ahead without my baby chills my soul, He whispers, “I’ve got this, Ron. And I’ve got you.”
You know, my greatest heartache this Christmas is not for me. Or even for our children and grandchildren who adored her so. They have her Jesus. No, my heart aches for so many who face great loss and brokenness without that one Safe Place. The death-conquering Savior who said, “I am leaving you with a gift – a peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
But I know that peace is within their reach as it has been for me. It’s within your reach by pinning all their hopes on Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. What He won for us when he walked out of His grave at His empty tomb.
That’s why I want you to go to our website. I’ve got nothing there except to tell you how to begin this relationship. That’s the most important thing you’ll find there. It’s ANewStory.com. Please check it out.
Look, I know that for those of us who have lost someone we love last year, the years before, maybe a long time ago, there’ll still be some tender – even overwhelming – moments. But someone who loves you and loves me very, very much will move in close. And in His arms I’ll be safe. You’ll be safe.