“December is a curse to our family” I heard my uncle say as he was taking us to that awful place. That place just a few hundred feet from his house. That awful place where it happened. The most painful memory I have, the most wretched time, the absolute…… Goodness, words fall short to describe it.

As I was holding my sister’s hand, we walk slowly… with shortness of breath… in tears… to that place. There is where he laid; in darkness. It’s surreal. I can’t believe that it’s my brother who’s laying there. That dark human-like shape that I can barely make up, that’s my brother; the one who combed my hair for photos. The one who we’d play hide and seek with, who walked 30 minutes in the rain to buy a baby turtle for our youngest sister when she really, really, really…really wanted one. The one who suffered greatly. Who struggled SO MUCH to make sense of his world. Misunderstood by us all; even by his own mind. The one who I let be blamed for my sin.

The words keep sounding in my ears: December is a curse. December..… is a curse. Today marks another year; the eleventh one. And I pause on this day… I look at the Christmas tree, I look at the presents, I look at the lights and I pause. I lay aside this season of love and joy; with shortness of breath I grieve. I remember what I wish it never happened. I remember how evil has warped my world. I lose sight of any meaning for December.

And in my grief I look around again: evil… broken homes, sickness, death, hunger, suffering. Loved ones taken away from loved ones. What an awful time! December’s bad news add to the grief. With shortness of breath I ask why? Why are we still here? Why am I still here? I don’t understand. I hate this pain and hurt. I DON’T!! understand December’s curse. Why everything evil happens twofold in December?

My faith is shaken, my spirit is broken. Today I can’t forget how wretched I am. Today I can’t make sense of my life. Today I need some good news to break through the shortness of breath.

I turn to Luke 1: “the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

Peace….

Christ…. Peace came on this Earth lying in a manger.

In the midst of December’s evil, we remember Life. How rare and beautiful it is to even exist in such a time. To exist in this universe whose Ruler came to give light in the midst of darkness. With shortness of breath I walk through darkness guided on this path of peace because the end was not on those train tracks. The end is only the beginning.

I can lay aside the presents, the lights, the tree; but what I can’t lay aside is the lesson of courage from a star shining up on Heaven’s Treasure. Grief is lighter now. Now I can ask without dying to myself: what did you feel when the train was coming? Now I can write about it with courage. December is NOT cursed. December reminds us of the only Hope for infinity. In December I feel courage and peace……. No matter how much or how little one believes in the Christmas miracle, there is something about it that gives hope.

With shortness of breath, I am thankful

…for December.

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