What a blessing last Thursday was for me! I worked. I worked hard at my rehab work out program. I ran a few errands on the way home. I cooked dinner. And I remembered . . .

Stopped in my tracks, I realized I felt good. I really felt good. I remembered what a difference pain’s absence can make. For chronic pain wears and drains. Chronic pain steals and destroys.

Long lasting pain brings weariness. Threads its way into one’s soul, saps stamina and resolve. Brings frustration.

Steals joy.

But pain’s exit lifts burdens. Brings renewed strength, energy and resolve. Its searing memory forgotten, reminders of what it is like to feel good are resurrected.

Joy restored.

That evening, I rejoiced in pain’s disappearance. I thanked my God. I gave Him glory as I shared my joy with several who love and pray for me.

Sleep came easily bringing much needed rest . . . at least until pain returned with a vengeance stealing the last few hours of the night. Pain haunted me in the morning. Joints screaming. Life made difficult.

Back and forth my journey with pain goes. Moments of respite. Days of pain. Joy in its absence. Frustration at its return.

And yet as I pause this morning to celebrate the memory of the coming of the Christ child, I am given peace. I lean into the memory which should invade every inch of the fabric of our lives and I am given Presence. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

Memory strong . . . hope restored.