“… the weary world rejoices …”
We are baking together, the little boy and I, but I am also listening to the radio.
It is 75 years since the kindertransport brought German Jewish refugee children to England. An elderly man is speaking. He was only seven when he boarded that train. Only seven when his mother and father made a promise they would not be able to keep. They promised they would join him.
He still has the small hairbrush his mother tucked into his case.
I am listening to the refined voice of this now elderly man, but I am seeing the face of my own seven-year-old son. I do not think I can bear it.
What are Christmas candies and frosted cookies to a world with so much pain?
“Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! ”
Some of the old maple trees that gave this home its name are waving pink, plastic ribbons. They are marked for removal. This week the tree man will come with heavy machinery and sharp blades, and we will say goodbye.
I will find it easy to say goodbye to the headless trunk covered in poison ivy vines. I will not find it so easy to witness the fall of the other tree. This tree is crowned with green leaves in summer, yellow leaves in fall, but it is hollow. Standing in front of it, I can see blue sky through a hole that is shaped just like a child’s drawing of a heart.
I feel a kinship with this tree. I know this is what love does. It rips you right open.
We are discussing Christmas gift ideas when my friend suddenly confesses that she can’t stop imagining the loss of her two-year-old daughter, her much-loved only daughter. I tell her I understand. This pain is love’s shadow.
It sends us to our knees.
I am blessed with four children. Which means I have been on my knees for a very long time. It isn’t such a bad place. There are angel voices here.
“Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!”
The shrieking radio, that bearer of bad news, is on again, and my daughter says, “More war? Why is there always more war?”
She places her frosted angel back on the table. I lay my own sugared bell beside it.
I think about that interview. How the little boy grew up. How he visited a Holocaust museum in Israel. There, on the wall, he found a photograph of prisoners in a concentration camp. Among those gaunt, wounded faces he discovered the face of his own father. A man he had not seen since that day when promises were made.
It occurs to me only now that my Father is also among the wounded. I can’t seem to articulate to my daughter why it matters. Why it makes such a difference.
I only know that it does.
Ours is a world of violence and loss. It is also a world of small hairbrushes packed with love. A world of Christmas cookies baked with love.
A world being healed by the wounds of a king.
“And in his name all oppression shall cease.”