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Miles To Go—“Oh, Tidings of Comfort and Joy!”


By Marianne Miles

Our family recently went to an ice skating rink on Saturday afternoon. No, I didn’t go out on the ice. I’m too cautious and my legs too creaky to do that. My husband and I sat on the sidelines; sipping great coffee and watching two of our adult children and their spouses play on the ice. We found later that Jon, our special needs son, sat this event out as well.

I searched for my daughter-in-law’s red coat among the myriad of skaters—an easy target to spot. The other three kids formed a cluster around her. The group alternately held hands, jockeyed for the lead and coaxed grins from their partner’s faces. The mall’s holiday decorations sparkled and piped-in Christmas music floated above us. My heart swelled with joy.

I tried to find words to explain my elation to my husband, but stumbled. Finally I said, “I just know it’s the joy of the Lord. I feel His presence.” Our fingers interlaced on the table between us with unspoken love. We didn’t need words to express the gratitude we felt for the many blessings God brought our way through our children.

My view re-focused again on our constantly circling skaters. They were so beautiful, even in their wants and imperfections. Yep, they have failings. I suspect there are even a few consequences mounting for paths chosen in a few areas of their lives, but I know God will bring them through the fire. That’s the mystery and beauty of the gift to God’s children.

So, where was Jon? My husband and I strolled through the food court and found him with chopsticks in hand, poised over a paper plate of Chinese food. He’s actually very coordinated and could have skated, but he chose to munch at the mall food-court instead.

“So, how’s it going?” “Why aren’t you skating?” “Everything OK?” we asked, but I suspected he sat in solitude from the weight of his loneliness. Single. Never married. No prospects. No hopes. And sick of waiting. Even the skating rink’s two-for-one entrance coupon pointed to him as the loser.

“I’m not going out there to fall and get hurt!” he said. “Besides, it’s my day off. My two favorite things are eating and not moving, so why would I choose to skate?” He was trying to be funny, but the hidden truth pulled at my heart.

Still, the peace of the Lord settled on me. “Jon is in my hands,” God seemed to whisper. And my day of reveling in joy continued. I wondered how that could be.

I realized I don’t know any of my children’s future, but I know my God. And He certainly knows me and my family. Why do I ever clamor for needs or wrangle for attention or fear abandonment when the God of the universe loved me enough to become a man?

Then I remembered the foundational joy of Christmas. The reality , that God relegated Jesus to an infant’s birth, had magically permeated my day. God loved the world (even me) so much that He sent His Son—not to judge us, but to save us.

And Jon? I have the same confidence in my Lord for him as I do for his brothers and sisters. God will bring him through the fire as well. God is our great and only hope. No wonder my heart rejoices!

Merry Christmas, dear readers. May your heart be as equally blessed this Christmas.

©2009 Marianne Miles. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

*Copyrighted back columns are available for reading in archives of Comfort Cafe. Contact Marianne for reprint availability.

Marianne Miles is a free lance writer intent on bringing comfort to mom’s of special needs kids. As she and her husband raised their children, including a son with special needs, Marianne developed a passion to support hurting mothers. Her message revolves around the love and provision of God, even in times of trial. Marianne has worked as a volunteer in the public schools, home school mom, and a teacher in a private school. She writes on the subjects of family and education in the form of devotionals, magazine articles, and poetry. Marianne welcomes reader’s comments and publisher’s questions at Marianne_Miles@yahoo.com.