Advent (Day 4): O These Many Holy Nights

Dec 4, 2013

“… 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.”



  1. Shelly Miller

    Glory! This is such a wonderful reflection to start my day of wandering thoughts. Thank you Christie, for your faithfulness in bending low to share your heart through Advent. It’s worship.

  2. HisFireFly

    in His name
    all things are made new

    thank you for this
    just, thank you

    • Christie Purifoy

      Yes, this is the hope that keeps me going! All things made new.
      Thank you for being here.

  3. Beth

    Can I say again… I’m so glad Shelly pointed me in your direction. Truly beautiful.

  4. Larry Ebaugh

    I’m a man, and men aren’t supposed to cry.

    So why are my eyes tearing after reading your Advent comments today? I must be coming down with something.

    (thank you)

    • Christie Purifoy

      No doubt a cold virus of some sort. 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Larry.

  5. Sue Tell

    Ahhhh wonderful ending, wonderful hope!

  6. Denise Nelson

    Thank you. . .such wonderful reflections and hope. Helps to keep your heart in the right place through the business of this joyous season!

    • Christie Purifoy

      That’s my hope for this series! Thank you for the comment, Denise.

  7. kelli

    heartbreaking and hopeful.
    thank you for writing truth for advent -today especially. my own weary heart needed this.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Yes, Kelli, “heartbreaking and hopeful.” You’ve just summed up how I feel about Advent. Thank you for being such an important part of this journey and this series. I’m inspired by your art.

  8. Kris Camealy

    Exquisite, Christie. Absolutely stirring.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you, Kris. You are such an encourager. I’m grateful.

  9. Diana Trautwein

    Truly stunning, Christie. Just breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you so much.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Thank you, Diana. I mentioned it on facebook, but this one was difficult for me to write and to share. It means a great deal to know you appreciated it.

  10. Elizabeth W. Marshall

    thank you thank you for walking me through these tender lines, these heart words. they indeed refocus and realign my heart during this advent. toward the cross. your words are a gift. every line, every phrase holds fragile beauty.

    • Christie Purifoy

      You are welcome, Elizabeth! And I am blessed by your words.

  11. Tresta @ Sharp Paynes

    “My Father is also among the wounded.” Such a game changer, such a miraculous grace – all this pain is not ours alone, nor ours to suffer alone. And Glory awaits! This is glory on earth, Christie – thank you for writing what is painful and what is redemptive.

    • Christie Purifoy

      This pain is not ours alone – yes!
      Thank you for your kind words, Tresta.

  12. Gwen Acres

    Another “thank you” Christie to add to those already so beautifully expressed. Every time I read something so rich as this I am comforted not only by words but also by knowing I belong to a “family”. Thank you also to Diana who directs us to the wealth.

    • Christie Purifoy

      Oh, yes, Gwen I love that feeling! We are in this thing together.



  1. Emptiness in Heaven | There Is A River - […] understands love’s terrible shadow. She knows intuitively, without ever being taught, that great love rips us open. Leaves us…

Leave a Reply

Pin It on Pinterest