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Christmas Healing

Every year I buy a new ornament for our Christmas tree. This year I spotted the perfect one in a lovely little shop…it was a little expensive, but it seemed to jump out at me from the shelf. It has a rainbow on it, which reminds me of Gods promises, and it simply says ‘Family’. As I put our five month old daughter, Zoe, back in the car and collapsed the buggy to put it in the boot a little parcel fell out of the top of the buggy onto the hard, rocky carpark…my new, delicate, ceramic, very breakable (and did I mention a little bit expensive) Christmas tree ornament! OH NO!!!! I didn’t dare open it to check in the car park, but you guessed it when I got home the beautiful ornament was broken. I was gutted!! 

I was reminded though of Kintsugi which is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery or ceramics in such a way that the repairs are visible. A clear lacquer is used with fine gold powder mixed into it. So, not only are the repairs visible but they are beautiful, they become a feature of the item of pottery. The thought behind this art is that the item is more beautiful for having been broken and repaired. 

One of the reasons I liked this ornament so much was because it simply says ‘Family’. Family can mean so much, it is a loaded word. Families can be so full of joy but also so full of pain. They can be encouraging and exciting and supportive but can also be heart-breaking, sour and disappointing. Family for me means more than reaches the eye. People may see my husband and I with Zoe and think that is our family, but we know there is someone missing who isn’t here on earth. For us, family means Boaz too, our first child who was stillborn and lives in heaven with Jesus. 

I repaired my Christmas tree ornament, not with lacquer and gold, but with epoxy resin and some gold cake decorating dust…it’s my version of kintsugi. Its my first go at this kind of repair, it’s not the neatest, most beautiful repair I’ve ever done but it reminds me that our family is more beautiful for having been broken and repaired. 

Unlike the ornament our family won’t be repaired by human hands, only Jesus can heal such deep wounds. He may not fix them how we expect him to fix them, or on our timescale, and the wounds might still be visible like the gold seams in kintsugi, but Jesus does promise to one day “wipe away every tear'” (Revelation 21:4).

At Christmas some wounds can be particularly exposed. Maybe we are missing someone who is no longer with us. Maybe our family doesn’t look like we expected it to. Maybe we can’t physically be with those we want to this year. Maybe there is a more deep-rooted break that needs a few repairs. Whatever it is Jesus promises to “bind the broken hearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:21).

As I shared this reflection with a friend recently, he reminded me that Jesus himself had wounds that, though healed, carried the scars with him into heaven. This idea is captured beautifully in the song ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns’ by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring:

Crown Him the Lord of Love;
Behold his hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified;
No angels in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends their burning eye
At mysteries so bright

Jesus promises us that we don’t have to travel the path of healing alone: 

  • Who has God placed around you to help in your healing?
  • Who could you help to bring Jesus’ healing to over the next few weeks?

Rachel is an Inspire Missioner based in England. She is married to Matt, and they have two beautiful children, Boaz (who lives forever with Jesus) and Zoe for whom this is her first Christmas.

Click here to READ another Kintsugi refection : BROKEN BEAUTIFUL

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