This afternoon, Sam came upstairs with me to wake Vava from her nap. She wakes up so gorgeously - her eyes flutter, she stretches, closes her eyes, lies still. Then she opens up those deep blue eyes, wide awake all at once, puts out her arms for a hug and asks (always the same question): "Sam?"
It just gets me. It's clear that she can't imagine a moment without him.
There's something about siblings that can't be replicated. It's the togetheriest togetherness I know.
I miss my sisters and brother so much. Living so far apart is really hard. I can't believe my brother has a son I've never met - and I have a son none of my siblings have met. I'm so grateful we can keep in touch online and share pictures and stories, but my heart hungers for the day when I can sit next to them and introduce them to my kids and we can all love each others' people in person.
That's one of the craziest things about Mary's journey to Bethlehem. As far as we know, she went alone with Joseph. No mother, no sisters to hold her hand and bring her fresh towels and comfort her through the whirlwind of pain as she delivered. No father or big brother to smile down on that precious brand new darling, to hold him in their big hands and make him seem even more impossibly small.
(Because that's how we are. God builds into us little reflections of His character - His three-in-one-ness echoes in the way we thrive in community, in family, in intimacy. We crave closeness because it's part of His character.)
She must have ached, that silent night, for a their voices, their experience, their presence as she bore this perfect Baby.
(And that baby, God incarnate, separated Himself from Heaven and crossed the chasm to humankind. He came to bring a Heaven full of siblings home ... but that's a story for another day ;).)
When the distance stings this time of year, and your dreams are filled with home and family, and you can barely keep from reaching out for them when you wake: take comfort. This longing? This love that aches and stretches across the wide earth and does not diminish? This, this is the heart of Christmas.