Have you ever noticed how much the words “longing,” “waiting”, and “hope” are in Christmas hymns? Those words have stood out to me uniquely this year, understandably. My heart is full of longing and waiting, and looking for hope these days as I continue the slow process of letting go of the sweet babies I lost this year.

Early on after this second loss, the words “gift” came to me – the “gift of loss” – that even when we lose something, with God, that loss always comes with gain. I committed myself to discover what gifts the Lord had for me in this loss. What better time than now, to reflect on that question, as I prepare to celebrate and give gifts on Christmas.

First and foremost, He has given me the gift of Himself, in deeper, sweeter, richer ways. His love is always nearer, and more real to me. How can anything surmount the gift of knowing the love of my Father more deeply?

But there is another gift to me in the losses I have faced this year. He has given me the gift of perspective.

I am grieving the losses from my individual life this year. He came to redeem the losses of the whole world.

I am longing for the hope of heaven so that I might see my babies some day. He came to bring hope to the whole world.

I am waiting to see His promises unfold more and more in my life. He came to bring consummation to promises He gave when the first man and woman walked the earth.

The glory of Christmas is in how much bigger and greater a hope and salvation Jesus brings than just redeeming my little life. He came as the Hope for all the grief and sadness this world has ever known.

The truth is that the great story of Christmas has become more true and more real in my life this year than perhaps ever before. I have come to understand at last that nothing, nothing, nothing matters more than the story of Jesus.

I don’t need to see God’s promises come true in my lifetime. It is enough that they are true, the truest hope there ever will be.

And so as I sit here today, watching the sun begin to fade on another day, and the cars pass by on the busy street outside our dining room window, cars filled with busy people going home for busy holidays, I stand amazed at this small, but precious gift of transformation He has already begun to do in me, this seed of faith, growing larger by the day, a faith that finally understands in some small way, that He is all that matters, because my words, my story, my life will all one day fade like that sun setting in the West, but His words will never pass away, and His story will be told for all eternity: how He promised redemption from the moment sin entered our world, and how over and over again, He revealed the next layer of His plan; how He promised His love and forgiveness to those that received Him; and how He, the God of all eternity, would become a tiny, helpless infant, taking on human flesh, and all of human likeness, so that He might one day redeem all of humanity, past, present, and future, through the greatest act of salvation in history. We are in the last act of the story, for any day, He could return, consummating the final elements of His promises that He has been faithfully fulfilling from generation to generation.

O Come O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel…