I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t believe Christmas is only a few short days away. I could blame it on the lack of white stuff outside, but I can’t really say that bothers me all too much. As a wheelchair user, snow and ice aren’t exactly what I would consider my “besties.” Christmas is such a joyful time of the year and has (in a sense) developed into a season with countless “inherently seasonally related” objects or events. You know, those things that you see and they make you go, “Oh goodness, Christmas is gonna be here soon!” Things like being able to order a grande peppermint mocha at Starbucks, the appearance of the gift wrapping stations at the mall, or the countless ridiculously cheesy romantic holiday movies that seem to be on replay on TV.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I love those romantic holiday movies. Are they predictable? Absolutely. If you’ve seen one, have you basically seen them all? Yea, pretty much; but I still love them. There’s just something about the holidays that seem to make the perfect backdrop for the culmination of a love story. Just imagine it - a man and woman walking along a tree-lined path under a starlit sky, surrounded by freshly fallen snow. Suddenly the man gets down on one knee, looks up in pure and honest love and commitment, and asks to spend the rest of his days with the love of his life.
I guess I can understand why the holidays are the most popular time of year for couples to get engaged. A study in 2004 by the Condé Nast Bridal Group actually said 20% of engagements happen during the holidays. Crazy right? And you know at one point in my life, I was apart of that 20%.
Five months before my spinal cord injury in 2013, on a cold mid-December day in Duluth, MN my boyfriend of two-years got down on one knee and asked “the big question” to which I excitedly responded "yes". I can still remember the thrill of that moment and those days that followed as I slowly began sharing the news of our engagement with friends and family and we began planning our long-term future together.
Fast-forward five months: freak accident resulting in paralysis.
Fast-forward three more months: out of the hospital and trying to piece my physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual life back together.
Needless to say, that didn’t leave room for much else and my once joyful engagement ended in another piece of myself that needed to be put back together. Broken engagements are something I would definitely consider less then enjoyable. I mean, any kind of break-up is hard and when there was that additional level of commitment, well, yea. It’s an experience I would never wish on anyone, yet it’s an experience that makes the season of Christmas one I can and do rejoice in so much more.
Why? Because Christmas is the ultimate love story.
A love story that starts in a tiny manager with a young woman and her husband, welcoming the King of Kings and Lord of Lords into this world. A world that would mock him, and scorn him, and ultimately crucify him – but he still came. The one who is all-powerful and all knowing, humbled himself to a virgin birth for you and me.
Now that’s love.
Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. –Psalm 36:5
That’s a love that doesn’t waver or pass away like the changing seasons. That’s a love that takes and holds on to all of you – every imperfection, every blemish. That’s a love that is bigger and greater in every and all moments of our lives – the good ones and the not so good ones. That, my friends, is real love.
I have no hard feelings against my once fiancé but am grateful for the lessons I learned from him both during the relationship and during its ending. I’m not currently in a romantic relationship and to be completely honest, I don’t know if I’m ready to be. I know if that’s a blessing God has planned for my life, it’ll be a wonderful and beautiful thing. But right now, I’ve slowly come to love this time of “singleness.”
It’s a time that has gently pushed me closer to my Lord and God as I’m able to focus much more intensely on my relationship with Him. To learn and understand just a tiny bit more of what real love is all about and to simply sit in amazement and thanks that I belong to such a loving Creator.
God’s love for us is seen on every page of his word, but I can’t help but look at Christmas as the beginning of an indescribable love story.
A love story that we, as believers, are blessed to be a part of.
Sam Schroth is a perpetual learner, loving to live life to its absolute fullest each and everyday the Lord blesses her with. Currently in the midst of applying to medical school while adjusting to life as a paraplegic, Sam is “Never Sitting Still” as she learns and grows in God’s grace and never ending love.