I was watching an episode of Victoria on Masterpiece Theatre earlier this year and one scene really got under my skin. The young and vibrant queen was trying to persuade an old colonel to serve on one more mission, one more assignment for the crown. He was honored, but he refused and hobbled out of the palace.
I was surprised that I felt a twinge of envy as I watched him go.
Why would I be jealous of a bruised and battered old man who was retiring from battle and from life?
I may not be a spring chicken, but I don’t need a cane either.
The scene gnawed at me for days.
Finally, I got on my knees and prayed about it. And I realized that I was jealous because I felt bruised and battered myself. I felt like an old and weary soul, and I wanted the journey to be done. I wanted my battles to be won. I wanted the heartache and the trials to be over. I wanted to finish well and enter my reward.
That sounds crazy because I have a lot of life left to live.
But sometimes… the pain of this life seems insurmountable.
Right now, as I write these words, some precious families near me are suffering in ways that I can only imagine. And, unfortunately, I do imagine their suffering, all day and all night, at 2 AM and 4 AM and 6 AM. I have challenging brain chemistry that clutches to a tragedy and plays it over and over and over again like a morbid version of Groundhog Day.
I know that I am not alone. (See my recent articles on mental illness to find encouragement and a sympathetic voice.)
I love my life and I’m thankful for it, but I do long for another home. Especially during the holidays, especially at Christmas when I add the heartache of others to my own. My table has some empty spaces, too. Thankfully, the faces that fill those spaces are not gone from this life, but they are gone from mine.
Christmas brings all the pain of this life to the forefront—the breaches and divides, the countless tears we’ve cried for lives that ended far too soon.
As Christians, we have the blessed relief of laying that pain in front of a manger—at the feet of our Savior and our King. Our Savior will, someday, right every wrong and dry every tear. Our King will, someday, win every battle.
That day is not today, but it will be…
Christmas gives us hope of that someday.
When I kneel before the Babe in a manger, when I praise my Savior and my King, the pain of this world loosens its grip and that someday Christmas doesn’t seem so far away.
If your life is marked with pain this Christmas season…
Kneel before the manger.
Sing a song of praise.
Leave your burden in His loving arms.
Find hope in a Christmas we will all celebrate… someday.
Catherine Segars is an award-winning actress and playwright — turned stay-at-home-mother—turned author, speaker and blogger. She is dedicated to helping other women see their worth in a season when they often feel less-than.
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