In the middle of our earthly Christmas homegoing to visit parental home and family, my spiritual growth feels like a Band-aid over the gaping wound of my sinful nature and my brokenness. Feeling like a fragile fraud, a barely healed terminal patient, I teeter on the edge of acting like it still.

What, what, WHAT would I do without Christ!

Here in the fertile loam of my germination, the brand-new creature of my saved-and-still-in-the-process-of-being-sanctified self feels puny and fledgling, rather than strong and prospering.

Why do we feel like children when we visit our parents? Is this a lifelong malady?

The holidays remind us of our need for the Savior. We’re broken from cradle to grave. Our condition is, indeed, terminal.

Times of reminiscing over hardscrabble coal-mining lives, forged in hard times and hard ways, impresses upon me that each generation has much to overcome. We all strive to give our children better than we had, to love them better, to overcome the pains of our own upbringing as our parents struggled to overcome theirs, each generation doing the best it can.

I set out to be a mother who would nurture perfectly, never repeating the errors of previous generations, never raising voice or lifting hand or showing favoritism, never stymying, never belittling. Patient, affirming, calm, gentle, and wise was my plan. It was their plan, too.

Of course, none of us could do it. My fallen self couldn’t carry this out flawlessly for thirty-five years of parenting. I often failed. I often apologized. I still do.

Back in the locus of the family homestead once more, I feel the weight of my failures. I am that broken, naive girl again, thinking she can do what no other human being has accomplished: Perfection. Previous generations have tried and failed. I have, too.

No human being, but One, has succeeded.

Jesus, fully God and full man, lived in his human family, holy and unscathed, untainted by their sinfulness, absorbing the pain of his wounded and broken parents and grandparents and siblings, rather than passing it on. Taking all their sins and failures upon himself, he was wounded for their transgressions and for ours.

How we need him to absorb our wounds and eradicate our pain!

Because of his tender mercy, kindness, and love, we celebrate his natal Self, mindful that he grew up as a tender shoot and then made the ultimate sacrifice: the giving of himself to save us from ourselves.

What a Savior! Jesus, we thank you on this day of remembrance!