A solitary heart-leaf remains on the vine, long stripped of its greenery—an image that suggests grieving.

Certainly, beneath house tops outlined in blinking lights live those stricken by losses: disease, desertion, divorce, and death—There’s no getting away from them. Such devastation leaves hearts crimped, isolated, lonely.

Around the eyes, soft tissues sting with tears until the next upheaval., then more redness, more Kleenex, and more sobs sounding like a car with a flat tire. 

Anger flares when Santa is too jolly, when the overcooked turkey tastes like sandpaper, when no one helps clean up.

Alone again without guests, pain crazes the heart like fissures in an Oriental vase: precious, but broken. Only a glazier can restore it and make it serviceable again.

Such is like the artistry of Creator God: The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears… The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart. (Psalm 34: 17-18)

Prayer helps with this restoration and renewal of life. Next year Christmas will come around, different but with traditions just as meaningful.