by Christa Upton

For Nathan’s first Christmas program, I enjoyed singing in the choir, directing the dance team and dancing with them, and directing the choir for one song (Steve’s solo).  Nathan (at 3 years old!) sang in the children’s choir and even had a short solo.  I still remember his adorable costume.

For Alyssa’s first Christmas program, I sewed Alyssa’s costume and helped with rehearsals.  I remember how cute she was standing with her singing partner and waving her country flag.  (It was “Christmas around the World.”)  Nathan also enjoyed being part of the children’s choir.

For Sarah’s first Christmas program, I will be home all by myself.

That’s the devastation of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).  I am so sick right now that I cannot attend church.  We hope that I might be able to attend Nathan’s confirmation in the spring, especially because it will probably be warm enough for me to escape outside or to our car if I begin having breathing problems.  But it would not be wise for me to try to attend our Christmas program.

Sarah is very excited about being an angel.  Nathan and Alyssa are looking forward to their singing and reading parts.  I am very happy for such a great church and the wonderful volunteers that are putting the program together!!!  I’m grateful for our kids’ eagerness to participate.

But why do I have to be left out (again)?  I miss a lot of things with my MCS limitations, but some of the most grief-inducing are the things I will never get back, like Sarah’s first Christmas program.

Yes, it’s a stupid question (“Why?”).  But I believe God doesn’t mind when I feel compelled to ask it anyway.

No, I don’t feel that God has given me an answer to “Why,” but far from imagining a “cold silence,” I feel that I can interpret this difficult thing in light of this Scripture:  “He heals the broken-hearted….”  Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

In one sense, missing this program is a very small thing to be “broken-hearted” over.  There are much, much worse things, including things in my own life.  But I do think God understands my pain.  He knows that I would like to be among those whom our kids see in the smiling faces in the congregation as they participate in the program.  He knows that I want to experience the service for “real” (as opposed to “distant” videos of it after the fact).  He knows I would like to feel the response of those around me and fellowship with those fellow congregation members. And, I know He understands.

He understands your pain, too.

“He (Jesus) is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief….”  Isaiah 53:3 (NKJV)

Christa Upton             Black Hills Picture Books            PO Box 293        Custer, SD 57730

About Christa Upton

I am a wife and mother of three children ages 11, 14, and 18. I used to be a stay-at-home mom (teaching piano & dance, volunteering, etc). From 2007 to 2010, I suffered accidental Toxic Injury (also called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or MCS). MCS has had major impact on our family, but the forced time in bed has given me time to write. So far, I have published 4 children's books (2 in e-book format on Kindle, one in Print-on-Demand at CreateSpace, and one printed by a local printer). Sometimes I miss my old life, but I love writing for children!
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