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[Even if you don't believe in the Christ of Christmas, you can relate.] 12/21/04
It was 27 degrees in our sleepy little city by the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. We just had our first artic cold snap over the weekend when temperatures dropped down to below zero temperatures with wind chills exceeding that. The sun was bright that afternoon and I could feel a warmth through the big, front window of our home. It was comforting. I wanted comfort. It was especially important that day.

This same window is one that faces a mountain ridge that is unwavering whenever we look to the south. I walked out onto our front porch and sat in a rocking chair that I enjoy during the warmer months. I sat amongst the pine bows and holly we arranged in planters for the up-coming holiday. It looks so festive, warm, and inviting. I had a long sleeved shirt, jeans, and some house slippers on, and did not bother with a jacket. I looked up at that mountain ridge and contemplated how many feet have walked those piney paths and enjoyed the solitude of the Creator's wonderland. I will tell you why I did this in short time, but for now I would like you to think of the simple comforts we take for granted ever day.

We wake in the morning with a cognizant knowledge that there is someone greater than ourselves watching over us and caring for us before we even know we have a need. We donít even think as we go off to work, or to whatever errands we are to run that day. We just know that when we get there, our destination will be as it was when we left it that last time we were there. We turn on a switch and we have light, the stove burner and we soon have a hot cup of coffee, and we turn on the heat if our arms are a little chilled rather than wrap a sweater around us. And, if the summer heat is too hot, we have air conditioning to give us our level of comfort. We say hello to this person and that person, and remind ourselves that we should stop by and see yet another person, or at least call them.

More than this we take for granted the comfort of knowing that our loved ones will walk through the door at the end of the day. As a mom I know my adult children will be on the other end of the phone at some point, and that my two boys will saunter through the front door every other day or so at suppertime. Itís taken for granted that one will bring laundry to do and will stay for supper while he waits for laundry to finish washing and drying. This too is somehow comforting. More than that, he has had a character that is consoling to my soul since he was a small child. I just like having him around. We even take for granted that the washer is there and working....and Heaven forbid it breaks down and leaves us inconvenienced for a couple of days. Inconvenience in not comfortable.

I also know that my other son will bring me a sewing project from time to time and makes me laugh at how he goes about life in general. There is always some excitement in his life. I know that when I talk to my daughter, she is no longer the moody seventeen year old who shut me out, and I will hear the sound of my grand children in the background getting into mischief because mom is on the phone. And speaking of grand children, each time they come through the front door they are ready with a hug, and the baby has learned something new. Grandma is the one that makes it right and how blessed it is to be that for children after your own children have left that idea far behind. I also know that my children will always share their joys and trials with me simply because I am Mom. This is indeed a comfort.

Itís common knowledge that my younger daughter will have a come back for every joke her big brothers throw her way......and I can count on her to supply me with endless chores to do....... and rest assured knowing that my dishes have not actually left the house, they are just in her room. "That" day even that was a comfort. But more than that, She can be counted on for things that come with a special heart. She is strong and has set her path in life to follow the steps of the Creator and not the world. She is a comfort.

All these things, even little daily chores that seem so meaningless are steadily present, in a strange way promotes a type of well-being. My day is about personal comfort and I take those comforts for granted. How about you?

So, I sat on the porch for just a short time, feeling the cold. It was cold, and it was uncomfortable. I couldnít imagine spending a day in this weather with nothing more than what I was wearing. You see, our community was pulled out of the comfort zone as an autistic child went missing that weekend just before Christmas. He left his house with just a longed sleeved shirt, jeans, and brown slippers. His mom had already experienced great loss when her husband died of cancer just a year and a half before. The community left their comfort zone to search for this boy and no one wanted to give up. But, alas this child was found lifeless just that morning-nearly three full days later. We understand he lived for at least twenty-four hours after he went missing in that cold, wandering around in the mountains on a mission that only his mind understood..... Another child for the Creator to hold. It is heart wrenching and seems so senseless. We were all thinking of what his last minutes, or even hours were like...........and are haunted. We canít imagine how a mother lives through this.

During the Christmas season of all seasons we are reminded of the joy that another mother shared many years ago when our Savior was born. It is why we celebrate the day. She was like any mother. Nothing was different. She nurtured him and cared for him like any mother would. She held his warm, little body in her arms and nursed him. She gazed into little eyes looking back at her knowing she was all the world to this tiny, helpless being. Without her, he would perish. Her heart skipped a beat every time he fell, or was a little late getting home. And then......she watched as her boy was tortured and crucified and was powerless to change it. We, in our comfort zone, donít even want to think of it.

As a mom, I know that each moment in her time with her son was thought about over and over for the rest of her life. She strained to remember every detail. It was little comfort, but she remembered how it was then. I know this because I too have lost a child, but only had a few precious moments with her. But those few moments are burned into my soul. I can see every wisp of hair, every eyelash, every shade in her complexion, and the sound of her kitten-like cry.

Itís a strange thing being a mom of adult children. When things are going well we see them as the people they have become. But when there are trials and suffering in their life, we see them as the small, vulnerable child that we once gathered up and held until it was all ok again. Thatís what we want more than life itself- to make it all ok for them, but we are powerless.

No doubt this mother/Mary wished she could return to those by-gone years so she could study every inch of his face a little closer. She would concentrate more deeply on how it felt to hold him in her arms. She would breathe the smell of him and let it linger in her senses. She would absorb the feel of his little head against her cheek until it was burned into her memory forever. She would never let one moment pass without holding it close so she would never, ever forgot.

We take our daily comforts for granted. Sitting on the porch I was able to come in from the cold. That little boy on the mountain ridge ............ well..........we can only imagine his discomfort. But this little child is another child for the Creator to hold. We can take comfort in that. Iím sure he is held close and is very warm, and is whole now. This is because Christ left His comfort zone for earthly motherĎs worst nightmare......a Heavenly FatherĎs greatest sacrifice..

So, this holiday season, hold your loved ones close and absorb the moments. Even if you do not believe in the Christ of Christmas, you can relate to this story as it applies to you and your loved ones. Memorize their voice, their laughter, and how it feels to hold them. Enjoy the warmth of their presence in your life...... because tomorrow could change your life and theirsí forever.

In memory of Logan Mitchletree who found his way Home on a mountain top in Dec. 2004 and in memory of all children who have found the ultimate Comfort........



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