It is meant to be. But, sometimes, life throws you a curve ball.
You and yours are in the midst of a "catch up" day, when you've cleared the calendar and are staying home to attend to some responsibilities that have been being pushed aside, as well as to enjoy some Advent merriment that you've been wanting to get to - cookies, crafts, and such.
You wind down a pleasant morning of checking off tasks and begin to look forward to lunch, followed by the completion of a few more things, before a late afternoon of Advent merriment.
Just as you're about to call a pre-lunch tidy, the phone rings. Your daughter picks up the receiver and hands it to you, saying, "It's a doctor."
BOOM! Everything changes.
You wipe away silent tears that escape the corners of your eyes despite the brave smile that you try muster up for your children. You take a deep breath and make a quick, silent plea to the Lord for the right words to explain things to your little loves who have such big ears when you're on the phone and such keen sensitivity when your emotions do a 180.
As your children's questions slow, you hug them tightly and say, "It's going to be all right. We'll take things one step at a time and get through this together. God is with us."
Then, you lay your trust in that. He IS with us.
Jesus came to us all those years ago in Bethlehem. He comes to us each week in the Eucharist and in the way others let themselves be His hands, heart, and mouth.
Because of this, there is hope. There is love. There is joy.
There are three young children offering extra hugs to a Mommy who needs them and leaving rocks and shells decorated with encouraging messages all over the house.
There is a woman who knows she is loved by those children, their earthly Daddy, and their Daddy in Heaven.
There is concern over what will unfold regarding the news from the phone call. Yet, joyful anticipation remains, re-ignited by love and hope.
If you, too, have had an Advent interrupted by unexpected news or difficult challenges, please know you are not alone. None of us are. His love brings hope.