My guess would be that each us at this time of year a few weeks and now days before Christmas silently pray or wish to ourselves, “Let this be a Christmas to remember.” And we, for the most part, sincerely mean it. And yet many of the years go by without anything out of the ordinary happening. We enjoy family, friends and a celebration of faith, all of which we should. But if you are like me you get close to Christmas and realize that you once again wish you had gotten out more into the hustle and bustle, had seen one more seasonal play, had taken your family to a large grandiose celebration of lights and festive activity. Had gone out to meet the need of our fellow man. Had done something that was essential to another person.
But in our lives however, we often see the events that everyone else sees, the same people, the same or similar lights, the same food we probably ate in years past. I have a strong sense of wonder. I wonder during these days if we can at times see that which others fail to or can not. I once had a lady tell me that she thought I would have the ability one day to see into the hearts of people and would be able to look beyond the hurts and see into their needs. As Forest Gump would say, “I don’t know bout all that”,…but, it is an idea that intrigues me, to see what others do not. We each should hopefully strive to see the invisible person who is hurting and no one else is mindful of, not because they are not there, but, because we all move at such a pace that we do not notice their need.
I wonder…I just wonder… if Bryan Thornton in the last few weeks or days asked God to make this a Christmas he would never forget. A Christian father and husband, brother, son, open to what God could do in his life. I don’t know that he did ask God that, but, maybe he asked God to help him see how fragile this life is, how quickly we pass from life to death and then to eternal life. He may have asked God to open his eyes this Christmas, to be more like God, to have his heart broken with the same things that break the heart of God. I don’t know if he spoke with God regarding any of this.
I do know that Bryan will never see Christmas the same again as 24 hours ago at roughly the same time I am writing this entry a small plane crashed in Texas and took the life of his sister, her husband, two of their children and another extended family member, with other children left behind. All gone, six days before we celebrate one of the greatest days on the Christian calendar, the birth of the Prince of Peace, Emanuel, God With Us.
How will Bryan see past the loss? The shock, the whirlwind of decisions to be made while at the same time trying to even understand how this could have happened? A defining moment? To say the least. How did God not see this coming and be able to prevent it? What good can come from this?
I have no way to understand, comprehend or feel what Bryan is going through tonight along with his wife, their children and other members of their family. They have a strong church to support them but the church will never be able to make the pain and the loss be forgotten. I do know Bryan will never see Christmas the same again. However, I bet he will see from this Christmas forward past what many of us can only see, the trivialization of Christmas. He will be able to see the invisible, the hurting, the forgotten, the one who has lost hope. God will gently see him through this and many will look to him for strength in the future when he feels he has none. He will be aware of what truly matters and will eventually bring Hope to many.
Oh, by the way, the title? It is in French, and comes from Antoine de Saint-Exupey’s The Little Prince. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux when translated means, “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
God, may we be aware of that which is essential this Christmas.