This is the fifth Christmas season of our new normal. The fifth Christmas since we first got word, the day before Christmas Eve 2011, that there were serious concerns about Nathan’s development.

The 5th Christmas that we’ve carried the weight of what happened in his brain 6 Christmas seasons ago.

The 4th Christmas season that we’ve grieved with him as his body remembers and he struggles to communicate.

I’ve wrestled with this new normal, uncomfortable with how our new normal fits with how our culture, even our Christian culture, celebrates Christmas. Not until this year was God able to finally get through to me that our new normal isn’t detracting from the meaning of Christmas. I’m not losing out by being heartbroken instead of happy. Instead, I have spent this season seeing everywhere that the Christmas season’s real purpose was to meet me in this precise place of neediness and sadness.

God doesn’t need me to manufacture Merry and Bright and Peace and Joy as a proper celebration of Him. He came to *be* my Merry and Bright and my Peace and Joy. He came because I am, we all are, heartbroken and needy and our bodies are grieving so many losses.

I’m more excited than ever before in my life to celebrate Christmas not despite the difficulty of our days, but because of the difficulty of our days. What a gift.