Christmas Is

She held on tightly, arms wrapped fully around my waist and her head burrowed deeply in my coat.

“Mom, I don’t want you to go.”

Her plea was persuasive but not enough to keep me from loading up the van and making the two hour trek northward to my parents’ home.

“I know, baby, that you don’t want me to go, but it is because of this very reason that I must go. You see, I have the same kind of love in my heart for my mom as you have for me. And this is my way of wrapping my arms around her and letting her know that I, like you, don’t want her to go.”

And with that, my daughter released her grip, signaling her willingness to share me. To allow me to make the journey home so that I might spend a few hours expressing love tangibly. Not so much in words, although words always find their way into such extravagance (case in point – this post). Mostly, it’s just living love by being together.

This is why I make these frequent trips home. This is how I hug my momma’s heart and express to her from the deepest place within me …

“Mom, I don’t want you to go.”

Not that she plans on doing so anytime soon. This isn’t a good-bye post. Mom (and dad) are in good health. This is just one of those pauses in the road, a rest stop of sorts when all I have to give is the gift of a few words added as a postscript to the gift of a few moments spent together.

Isn’t this mostly it … the message of Christmas? A family’s love wrapped up in moments? A child wrapping arms around hearts and expressing that which often seems inexpressible?


Oh there’s faith and hope and all the many soulful expressions of a life lived with Jesus, but at the end of the day … at the end of our journeys, love wins the day. Love given to us on earth. Love given to us from heaven.

It’s in these pauses—these moments that we take to hug one another—where we’ll find the heartbeat of Christmas. Wherever love lives, God is.

Some 2000 years ago, a Father hugged his Son and sent him on a journey to his mother’s house. She, in turn, hugged the Gift as he arrived. I don’t know about the many conversations that must have transpired between Mary and Jesus during his earthly tenure, but I imagine there was one or two not so unlike the exchange shared between my daughter and me just a few days ago. Perhaps something along the lines of …

“Son, I don’t want you to go.”

“I know, mom, that you don’t want me to go, but it is because of this very reason that I must go. You see, I have the same kind of love in my heart for all of God’s children that you have for me. And this is my way of wrapping my arms around them and letting them know that I, like you, don’t want them to go. Instead, I want them to be with me, in the place where I am going. This is why I must make the journey home to my Father’s house. This is why you must let me go.”

And with that divine declaration, Mary released her grip, signaling her willingness to share her son with the world. Indeed, living love by being together! God with us. Immanuel. God in us. Immanuel. God through us. Immanuel. This is the message of Christmas.

Tend to your loving this week, friends. Keep it in mind, and then take the time to live it with arms and hearts wide open. Wherever love lives, God is. May it be so for each one of us in our pilgrimages to the manger this year. As always …

Peace for the journey,


28 Responses to Christmas Is

  1. This is such a tender, poignant post!

    There’s a very strong bond between a mother and her child. Letting go is never easy for any of us. I can’t imagine the emotions Mary went through, knowing she must release her child, then watching him suffer on the cross for the sins of mankind. To be honest, I’m not sure I could have done what she did. But God…

    I know you treasure the mother-daughter bond you have with your sweet Amelia. It reminds me of the one I have with my own mother. I think I’ll give Mother a call…

    • Do that, Beth. I think I’d better call mine as well, although I’m not certain we’d be able to get through it. Love you.

  2. This is beautiful Elaine! This precious daughter is growing up into such a beautiful young lady. I love her heart for you, and yours for her. My emotions go right to Mary… and tears follow. What a time of beauty, to rremember what Christmas was… and what it means to us!

    I love this post elaine! Can you tell?? 🙂

    • Thank you, Sonja. I’m so grateful for the kinship we share with our mothers/daughters. For me, there’s great safety in sleeping under my parents’ roof; I feel so secure when I’m near them. I only wish we lived closer. Merry Christmas, friend.

  3. Sweet, sweet words hugged me, too, tonight. What an example you’re showing your baby girl. She will one day know it’s okay to leave her babies to spend some precious time with you and Billy.

    My mom “had to go” to spend her time with Jesus – and just like what you’re showing your kids, one day it will be okay when you go hang out with Him, too.

    LOVED this. xo

    • I know that’s how I’ve shared it with my kids…I’m going to go, too. 🙂 Let’s say you and I pack a bag and go together!!! haha

      • So grateful to share the road with like-minded mommas/friends like you, Joanne. You bless me more than you know. In many ways, we have packed our bags and are walking home together. What a treasure to have you at my side.

  4. Oh Elaine. I am literally crying right now – your tender post reached me so deeply. Your precious daughter, your precious mom. Our precious Lord. Love that doesn’t want to let go – but does – for something else that love requires.

    I loved the conversation between Mary and Jesus. My oldest son turned 30 last year, and it has made me ponder more than ever the feelings that Mary must have had when she *released* her boy to His God-ordained ministry. Did she know how it would end? How her heart must have broken –

    How it must have rejoiced at His resurrection!!

    OK, I’m crying again…


    (A sidenote: My mom’s birthday is Christmas Day – and what a precious gift she has been to me! I can’t wait to hug her again in just a few short weeks!)

    • Way cool that your mom is a Christmas baby! Now that’s the way to celebrate the day. Enjoy each moment you’re given with her. Thanks for being here, Sharon.

  5. Precious Elaine,
    I read your post twice this early Sabbath morning…once in the quiet of my heart, and again, aloud to my beloved husband.
    Your tender, honest love for God, family, and people, brought me to tears.
    Emmanuel…our everything!
    Christmas Hugs dear one.

    • Thank you for your kind words and sharing this moment with others. I pray we all reach out with our loving in this season, remembering the great love of God that came in the form of a baby.

  6. So deep…so tender…so spiritually relevant to each of our souls as we embrace the Reason for the season. Thank you. Have a blessed holiday friend.

  7. Yes and yes, Elaine, spend time with your mom and hug her while you can. I’m missing my mom deeply this holiday season. I pray that you enjoy many more years together with your precious mom. Christmas blessings to you and your family!

    • I thought about you, Cheryl, when writing this post. I know this grief is fresh in your heart. Blessings to you as you reflect and remember.

  8. wifeforthejoureny:

    It is good to be reminded of the connections we can have with our parents, our children our other family and friends. I also followed the link to re-visit the post you wrote about Nick’s first journey to Campbell as a college freshman. We have so much to be thankful for and Christmas certainly has a “gravity” for family life that I am feeling strongly in our new home. Thanks for encouraging us to think about the people we share life with and the gift of Jesus.


  9. Treasured relationships help us become who we’re meant to be. To be blessed with them from within one’s family is priceless beyond measure. Not all families are quite as blessed. I am always moved by tender mother-daughter-relationships, as God intended. Don’t miss a moment. Take time for more this year. We can never out love God…but its such a blessing when we follow His lead.

    wishing you many blessings and treasured moments with family and friends
    hugs patrina ><

    • Thank you, Patrina. I plan on taking those trips this year and extending my mother’s love to a soon-to-be daughter-in-law. My heart is expanding and reaching further to spread the love of Christ within. Blessings and peace to you.

  10. You make me want to call my mom right now 🙂 Your children are so blessed to have you as their mother.I hope your Christmas is as sweet as all your other days together.

  11. Oh Elaine, this is just so beautiful. You nailed it right on the head what Christmas is all about. Not all the stuff, but the love! Been way too long since I have stopped at your peaceful door. Merry Christmas, to you and your family! Lori

  12. What a beautiful Christmas post this is. How I wish we could have some time to share together… while I am here in your part of the world… I have thought often of you and said to myself how wonderful it would be to see you face to face. You are an encouragement to me, Elaine. Your heart shines out in the darkness, and your voice speaks above the noise of the world around us. Have a meaningful Christmas dear friend.
    Much love, Lidia

    • You’ve stayed here longer than I realized, friend. I pray your Christmas a blessed and beautiful time of fellowship with family, friends, and our Father.

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