The snowflakes twirled and danced, splatting soundlessly on the windshield. Johnny Mathis was singing how it was “beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” And it was. For in that little moment in time, it did indeed seem that peace was over our little spot on earth and good will was toward all men. Or at least the back seat bickering was fairly minimal (for the moment).
The song on the radio changed and our conversation turned toward where we might be next year for Christmas. I sorted through the center console as we talked in search of my travel size lotion, found it, and quickly whipped my ring off to lather up dry hands as we drove into our destination driveway.
Without thinking of the precious wedding band still sitting in my lap, I enthusiastically jumped out of the car to serenade the first family member who greeted us at the front door.
And as we finished singing, a sickening feeling began to creep around my heart, stretching its fingers down to my stomach. Where was my ring? My left hand looked strangely naked in the twinkling Christmas lights. I hurriedly tromped back through the snow out to the car, hoping against hope it would be sitting on the passenger seat. A thorough search through the seat, my purse, the floor, all the gift bags and presents, and every pocket on my person revealed nothing but empty exasperated hands.
Then began the snow search, many hands now, carefully pushing aside flakes to see if the ring had somehow tumbled out into the winter night. After sweeping and gently brushing around every slushy footprint, my husband suggested we drive back home to make sure I hadn’t left the ring on the bathroom counter.
He drove and I prayed. Then he prayed and I cried. Buckets.
Leaving meant missing out on all the fun. The dessert. The games. The laughter. But with a precious ring gone, the missing seemed secondary.
Dreams of how our Christmas day should have been totally dissipated in the reality of loss.
Where was the peace on earth? Where was the good will toward men?
When the search at home revealed nothing, my groom of 13+ years lovingly found a blowtorch, determined to melt every bit of snow until the lost could be found.
This time our snowy drive was defined by swollen eyes and pleaful prayers:
Lord, pleeeeease. Please help me find my wedding ring. Lord, I know it’s just “stuff” and can be replaced, but it’s stuff that means so much to me. I know you understand that, Lord. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You even when the day doesn’t go according to plan. Help these tears to stop and perspective to be found. And most importantly, strengthen my heart to trust You. We pray for Your will to be done. In Jesus’ name, amen.
We pulled into the driveway. The same driveway in which only a few hours ago we had been so hopeful, so excited for the day. Out came a borrowed metal detector. And on its heels, the blowtorch. With stubborn resolve and a heart full of love, my husband started strategically melting the snow.
Just when my heart had about given up all hope, he whooped and hollered that he could see something. Under layers of footprints and snow-trodden ice, my ring appeared. And suddenly, my hero was down on one knee, ice-cold ring in his gloved hand, asking me all over again to be his wife. My mouth squealed “YES YES YES” while my heart overflowed, the extra love leaking out my eyeballs.
Once again, all seemed right with the world.
Then the day after Christmas happened. My dear comrade and Masterpiece Mom co-everything friend, Amanda, texted a selfie with her right arm in a sling. Whaaaat?! Didn’t God know that writers need both hands for typing?!
So, you see, sometimes Christmas doesn’t go according to plan. Sometimes wedding rings disappear. Sometimes rotator cuffs are torn. Sometimes children choose to be children and misbehave (in spite of the day on the calendar). Sometimes food is burnt and tempers are lost. Whatever adventures your Christmas held, we hope that in the end, you were able to fix your eyes on the Savior and remember the reason for all the whoopla and celebration.
For in the mess, in the missing, in the hurt and the chaotic, He is still Lord of all.
May our hearts be at peace as the year comes to a close, trusting that in His Presence is fullness of joy, and in the end, the lost will be found and the broken will be made whole.
2015, ready or not, here we come!