shutterstock_116171299It’s 8 a.m. and I’m sitting in a donut shop in Galesburg, IL. The animatronic Santa directly behind me occasionally bursts into a tinny rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” then collapses into blissful silence just when I am about to smack him.

My mom just phoned to wish me a happy birthday. It chokes me up that my birthday is the first thing she remembered when she woke up this morning, because she is very ill in the hospital. Today we are waiting on some important test results that should give us a better picture about how far her cancer has spread, and what the immediate future might hold.

Advent is a time of waiting, but this kind of waiting is the worst of all.

I’m sorry I have not been blogging. Because of Mom’s illness I am taking a break from blogging (and a lot of other things) for the rest of December so I can be with her.

Oh, crap. Now Amy Grant is on the radio here at Spud-Os, singing that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The hap, happiest season of all.

I love Amy Grant, but I am now wearing my noise-canceling headphones because I really can’t stand one more dose of holiday cheer.

But no matter what the news is today or next week or next month, I do know one truth: God is good. All the time.

There is such a thing as joy that transcends circumstance. There is a love that lives beyond all that we know here, all that we do. And sometimes we are lucky enough to be born to a mother who shows that love.

I hope to be back to writing in January, and I wish you all . . . not a merry Christmas, exactly, but a deep joy no matter what your life feels like right now.

The Christmas image is used with permission of

Categories: Beliefs

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Jana Riess

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of "The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less . . . Now with 68% More Humor!" and "Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor." She has a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University.


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