An Unfamiliar Christmas

“We have a surgery date for you… December 17th.” She said over the phone.

“Oh great!” I answered, followed by, “Oh wow, that’s so close to Christmas…” 

“Is that a problem?” She responded. 

“No. Just an observation.” I replied.

And just like that, this Christmas took an unfamiliar dramatic twist. 

I’m betting it’s safe to say that yours did as well, because I know THIS year we all learned that everything is subject to change. Everything is a ‘Hopefully,” and a “We’ll have to wait and see.’

A predictable holiday season that NORMALLY involves family and friends, and appropriate amounts of turkey, gravy, and Christmas cookie exchanges is no longer on the horizon. 

Instead almost every gift has been ordered online, and my boys now incorporate ‘Amazon delivery’ into imaginative play scenes. 

But… I have learned in the last few months that amidst all of this uncertainty I must choose to lean on, and fully rely on, the CERTAINTY within my life, which is this: 

God doesn’t change. He loves me, he cares for me, and he definitely knows what’s ahead. He is with me and the very best author of ‘At just the right time’ storylines. He also faithfully meets each and every need along the way.

“Be at the hospital by 6 am, your surgery starts at 7:50.” She said.

“Wow, I need to stop being surprised by EVERYTHING you say…” I answered back to the sweet assistant on the phone. She’s been my favourite. We crack jokes in between her saying things like, “Write this down, it’s really important…” 

I feel like I’m heading to the airport at the crack of dawn to be whisked off on the weirdest flight of my lifetime.

The past 6 months have been full of endless surprises; a lot of them I didn’t want. All of the weird symptoms, tests, needles, waiting, and wondering… But some of the other surprises? They’ve floored me, brought me to tears, and made me smother my boys in giant hugs while hollering, “God is so kind and so real!! Do you know it yet?!!!” I’m a bit of a dramatic squeezer. 

I remember how relieved my 6 year old was when he realized that cancer wasn’t contagious. I had just taken a bite of his yogurt and handed it to him… He looked soooooo nervous, “Mom, am I gonna get it if I eat this?” 

Cancer is not contagious. There’s an unfamiliar statement I didn’t think I’d be saying out loud… 

Here’s the certainty again: I know that this Christmas doesn’t surprise God in the slightest. 

I also have come to the conclusion that it’s an awfully dark space to be considering the worst case ‘What if’s.’ I started wondering what if instead we learned to wonder the BEST CASE ‘What if’s?’ Sounds a little like the definition of FAITH and some GODLY imagination doesn’t it? 

Like… “What if it’s not so bad Mom, and you can talk right away, and eat right away, and you just sit on the couch and watch your weird Christmas movies for a whole week while we’re at Grandma’s?” or like, “Mom, what if they get all the cancer out and you heal up all great and then we get to have a party where we play video games and eat noodles?!” 

What if. 

I squeeze them when they say stuff like that. Like I already said… dramatic squeezer. 

I know it’s different and unfamiliar. But what’s the same and SO FAMILIAR is the peace, hope, and joy that this Christmas season brings. I know if I remember to open my eyes and look for it, I will always find it.

I made a list to remind myself on the harder days, because remembering is really important.

  • God is with me when my family is not.
  • God is with my kids when I can’t be.
  • God is with me before, during, and after a diagnosis.
  • He is with me.

Maybe you can make your own list. The second half of each line will probably read a little differently, but the first part, the ‘God is with me’ bit? Can I just tell you this…

Regardless of swirling circumstances, that part doesn’t change. God is with you.

“Mom, is this the worst year of your life?” one of the boys asked me. 

Nope. It’s not. Because there really are no ‘worst years.’ It’s had some hard days, I tell you what, but it’s still always a good year, and it’s been a gift to live it. And I’ve never walked a single inch of it alone.

This year I’ve seen my kids learn how to pray, and I’ve seen them DECIDE to trust God in every and all situations. And I’ve realized that my job on this earth is to teach them that God is with them. He’s with them in this life, and He’ll be with them forever in the part that comes after, and THAT PART has no disease, no pandemics, no fear, no sadness… no hand sanitizer. 

We were meant to live with that thought of eternity always at the forefront of our minds. That thought settles my soul; this Christmas, my hope is that it’ll do the same for you. He is with you. 

‘Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 

– Swirling Snowstorm, Peaceful Snowman –

4 thoughts on “An Unfamiliar Christmas

Add yours

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I appreciate your statement of not hard years but hard days. “Though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil for you are with me…”
    Praying for you.


  2. The tears in my eyes after reading this confirm I am a “dramatic reader” … thank you for being such a dear person of faith and courage and great communication in the midst of your dear family … loving them, loving others, loving our faithful God. Love back to you from me too.


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