I was at the mall this morning, the only one in our city and as expected it was crowded with Christmas shoppers. Amidst all the faces I saw hurry by in a blur, I remember one couple – an ordinary couple who seemed to be arguing over what to get at a toy store. The man looked tough with a hardened look on his face and yet in his hands he was already carrying bags full of toys, some which were so big that they were wrapped around in a simple cord.
It reminded me of what a friend once said, “The old man was tough but he always came through on Christmas.”
Like that couple in the mall, we love giving gifts to our children especially at Christmastime.
The holiday season can bring up memories of past Christmases – Christmases when we were the children receiving the gifts. And if we are honest, for most of us they were not always happy or idyllic.
And our fathers who try as they might, may not have always been there for us. My husband knows a lot about this. He shares the pain of growing up in a home where there was constant fighting and rejection in his book, The Freak.
A few weeks ago, during our Monday night home group, I shared a piece I wrote about living without our father’s approval and finding healing. What I shared in that piece broke the ice and just about everyone in the room shared about their own painful memories and relationship with their fathers.
Our fathers have shaped us and in many ways they still are even though we are far from being children. One member in the group shared that her father was homeless wandering the streets of Prague. The family had found him once and brought him home, but he would not stay and now she fears that she’ll get a call telling her that’s he’s gone.
Another one told us of how coming home from school one day while in first grade, he found out that his mother had hung herself and that all he ever remembers of his father is the physical and emotional abuse he received.
Then he said,
“I’ve never been loved. You are the first ones who have ever shown me any love.”
That brought tears to my eyes.
The good thing is that we can take our pain to Jesus, which is what we did that night. There is no better time than Christmas to give Jesus our pain. In return, He will bring healing to our hearts.
Jesus is the Great Healer and He offers us the balm of Gilead, the oil of the Holy Spirit which reaches deep into the crevices of our broken hearts.
And as I’m learning — He gives us the grace to forgive our parents and to ask for forgiveness. Then comes the f r e e d o m to love, to truly love our parents.