I’m thoroughly enjoying this Christmas season. I mean, apart from all the normal bickering about “the reason for the season,” I’m enjoying looking at Christmas lights, hearing Christmas carols and opening cards brought each day by the postman.
(Aside: I don’t quite get all the people who are so mad about our society “taking Christ out of Christmas.” From my vantage point, it appears that Christ has had little to do with most of the stuff that goes on year after year for quite some time. Sure, I think most people call it “Christ-mas” but from what I see, they might just as well call it “Stuff-mas” because stuff is the focus. “Merry Stuffmas” is probably a more accurate greeting. In our house, we celebrate Christmas with a birthday cake for Jesus and everything. I kinda think I’d be upset about people naming an event after me and then not inviting me to be involved, ya know? Is that how Jesus feels? I wonder if He wants His name attached to what this has become.)
Back to Christmas. I have a couple memories of last Christmas but I’m not sure they are memories or memories of pictures I’ve seen. I know we went to Auburn to have our traditional Christmas Eve with family. I know what we probably had for food based on tradition but I don’t remember the table. Was my sister Gloria’s peanut butter pie included? I don’t know.
I remember we played a trading game of some sort and Josh kept taking grampa’s gift over and over but that doesn’t make sense to me. I remember it was funny. But that’s all I remember.
And then Christmas morning, did Josh wake us up? Did I? Did Robin try to make us go back to sleep like she always does. I’m sure we piled on our bed and opened our stockings … but I don’t remember. It’s gone and it bothers me that I have no memory.
Did I make a big breakfast like I always have? I remember us laughing at my dancing with a Kinnex game that Jake bought for Shara and her Jake and then I remember having to lay down to do my best to hide the pain. And then … nothing. Did we have ham? Roast? Did my mom and dad come? Was I there? I have a foggy memory of a special banana creme pie but that’s all.
I don’t remember. That makes me sad.
Hepatic encephalopathy. Ever heard of it? It became a regular part of my vocabulary in 2011. Basically, my failing liver stopped filtering out poisons that then built up in my bloodstream and made my brain swell. When it swelled I had problems with memory and simple functions. (Yes, regular readers remember I wrote a little about it a few entries ago.)
Have you ever passed out or been knocked unconcious? It’s weird how that feeling of missing time, missing memories, impacts us. In my brain it feels like a glitch must “feel” to a computer or video game. It just doesn’t make sense. It bothers me. I want the memories of last Christmas but I’m not going to get them.
My God says He can will Himself to forget things. That baffles me. How can one who is all-knowing choose to stop knowing something? I guess one who is all-powerful has the ability to cause Himself to forget. What is truly amazing to me is what he chooses to forget: my faults, my sins.
When people dis me it is the toughest thing for me to forget. Do you know what I mean? When people sin against me I can’t seem to forget no matter how hard I try. I can remember painful words from thirty years ago even though I have long since forgiven. I remember the times I have been wronged. Forgiving is possible but forgetting seems impossible for me. You?
But God does both, forgives and forgets. Forgives and forgets. But with Him, it’s not a glitch, it’s the plan. With Him it’s Grace. With Him it’s Grace that was born in Jesus Christ. You know what I’m talking about? It’s what Christmas is supposed to be about, the birth of forgiveness and purposeful forgetfulness.
This year hepatic encephalopathy is no longer a concern. I can remember my phone number, do math and make people laugh. I am reading books, winning at Words With Friends (Scrabble online) and walking my new little doggie pal two miles a day while Christmas carols play on my smartphone. My God heard my cries and answered my prayers. I will remember this Christmas and I never forget His amazing forgetfulness when it comes to my sin.
I will celebrate the birth of Grace while the society around me celebrates Stuff-mas. This year I will treasure and remember every part of Christmas. I will rejoice at another year of crowding onto our bed at 6 am. I will flip those breakfast eggs and fry that bacon with more thankfulness than you can possibly imagine. I will carve our Christmas ham with tears in my eyes. I will remember everything about this Christmas.
And I will remember my God’s love for me demonstrated in the miracle transplant that saved my life. I will remember his Grace in the birth of my savior. Come thou long-expected Jesus.
This link leads to a video that I can’t embed for some reason. I hope you’ll click it and watch the work of this amazing artist telling the Christmas story. It’s different.