This year I kneel on the floor, my hands shaking, my eyes so blurred I can scarcely see the shattered pieces of tiny glass. While tears stream down my face, Boy Wonder sits in the other room sobbing, knowing that this time he went much too far. It is by no means the first lovely sentimental item he has destroyed. Yet this time, I am so filled with sadness and regret I cannot go near him. My frustration of all he has done this week, culminated in anger at the sight of glass scattered under the tree, the result of direct disobedience and impulsiveness on his part. He squeezed the glass until it shattered... compressing my patience right along with the glass.
My emotions too raw, I order him out of the room. I am repulsed by the sight of him: of his increasingly selfish behavior the past months, of his greediness, of his unending want, of his constant focus on himself, of his meltdowns when he doesn’t get his own way.
He cries now only because he fears a consequence, not out of sorrow for hurting another. As with most people affected by FASD... he just doesn’t get it. He has no comprehension this ornament is irreplaceable. He doesn’t appreciate the value. He doesn’t have compassion for others. Still my hurt, my anger rages deep inside me and overflows from my wicked tongue to pierce him with my words.
As I sit with tears streaming, softly mixing with remnants of glass in my broken pile, waiting to be cast forever into the rubbish heap, the irony of the beautiful tree and the bright crimson embroidered “Peace on Earth” tree skirt suddenly flood my soul. Sobs rack my body as I see the brokenness it all portrays.
Such is life with disability: the perfect ornament we want the world to see, a shattered family painted inside, a fragile child hanging in the balance. I reach up to gently unhook the rest of the glass still attached to the tree. I find another thin shard of painted glass resting in the evergreen bough. I am overcome with emotion.
Is this not the reason God sent the Messiah to us one Christmas season so long ago: to sweep up the pieces of His beautiful world that man has shattered. To heal wounded, fragile souls. We took His delicate, hand-painted world and slowly compressed the beauty of His creation with the sin in our hearts: our gluttony, our greed, our sexual preferences, our self-sufficiency, our idols. Until one day the glass could no longer withstand the pressure -- sin shattered our souls into hundreds of tiny pieces, the only hope of rescue being a Savior. And in the fulness of time: Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God come to earth as a son of man. He came in such a fragile form, creating the very womb that gave him life! It is too much for me to comprehend. This grace extended to me. This reconciliation of man to God via a crimson stained Savior.
I’m still shaken as the day passes. I am saddened by what cannot be replaced. More than grieving the temporary beauty of the ornament, I grieve the loss of the things Boy Wonder does not comprehend: of emotions and empathizes that are foreign to him. Yet the crimson words of "Peace on Earth" ring in my mind and I find solace in the eternal beauty of this season... knowing in the Messiah there is found everlasting hope for the parent, for the child, for the family exhausted by disability. I close my eyes at the end of a long day and rest in the promise of peace on this journey.
My heart kneels as I ask for more grace.
Immanuel has come: God with us.