Today, we celebrated The Feast of the Epiphany which marks the end of the Christmas season. I’m happy that we happened to attend morning Mass as we got the last glimpse of all the Christmas decorations at the Church. We stood in front of the manger scene, wise men and the fresh evergreen trees to soak them all in. As I waved to Baby Jesus and turned to leave, part of me regretted the thought of seeing all these things disappear for another year.
These items are merely physical reminders of Christmas however. Father reminded us that “the Holy Infant Jesus is born in our hearts each and every day”. Are we willing and ready to follow the star and seek Him out? It is one thing to recognize the presence of the humble newborn King in our lives, He is within us and those around us, living in our midst. But what are we going to do when we manage to find Him?
The Magi were guided by their beliefs and followed the bright star to Bethlehem. When they finally arrived after a long and tiresome journey, they rejoiced when they found the Infant Jesus. They offered Him symbolic gifts on bended knee, recognizing that He was the greatest King of all.
This Holy child represents for us a burst of radiant light in the darkness, a promise of hope like no other. As they turned to go back home, the wise men listened to the warning of the angel and as we can only imagine, were forever changed along with the shepherds.
The journey of grief can also be a long, dark and lonely road. At times, it may feel like it is impossible to continue putting one foot in front of the other, and trudge along enduring the pain and sadness. I sometimes felt like I was going in circles, head down, with little direction and with no end in sight.
If you can related to this experience, I urge you lift your head and to keep your eye on the star. I pray that the glimmer of light will lead you closer to Him. The only “gifts” that I managed to offer at the beginning were grief, fear and mourning. I didn’t think they were worth very much at all, but was advised to “give” them to God anyway and this would help me in grief. Really?! I questioned. I tried, but it felt weird at first. How do I offer “up” my suffering to Him? What good would that do? I didn’t get it.
In time, I recognized that my burdens did become lighter as I put more trust in Jesus. Instead of grief, hope started to seep into my heart. The debilitating fear I felt was slowly replaced with faith, and I was no longer as afraid. When I thought of Keaton, I began to experience moments of complete peace which eventually outlasted the episodes of sorrow and mourning. Ahhh, THIS is what “they” mean…
What I learned to recognize is that I could not experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit and remain the same. As a friend, wife and mother, I felt myself changing. It was a revelation for me that The Lord actually wanted me to give Him these things and gladly received my offering. In turn, I was given the peace and reassurance that my son was safe in heaven and the best part was that we had the opportunity to be with Keaton again. Forever. Forever is a long time and worth waiting for, don’t you think?
As my deep sorrow lifted, I began to recognize how blessed we were to have our son, even if it was for a short while. I have come to the realization that God loves us and our children more than we could ever know and wants us to all be together for eternity. If we continue to accept His love more and more each day, heaven can become closer and closer and feel more within reach.
Sometime when I hit low moments and really miss my son, I have to gently remind myself that Our Heavenly Father also knows the pain of losing His only Son and that He gave Jesus up so that we could all be together for eternity one day.
May the Infant Jesus live in your hearts and your upcoming year be filled with His peace and everlasting love.