As we drove to look at Christmas lights an old familiar song, All is Well by Michael W. Smith, came on the radio. It’s familiar, because I heard Brendan practice it over and over as he prepared for his solo, where he was to sing it in the children’s production at our church when he was in the second grade. As my mind wandered back to that memory I realized it took place seven years ago. At the time, he was a tow-headed little blond boy with an angelic boys choir voice — a far cry from the nearly six-foot tall manly voiced high school freshman he is now. As treasured a moment as that was for our family that Christmas season, his solo hit a special note in many hearts far beyond our own.
It was a year that stands out to us – one of those defining years you just know you will always look back on and remember. It was the year David and I saw one of our heroes fight for his life and then go to be with Jesus. He relocated to Heaven just days before we saw our son sing All is Well.
Our heart’s ached for the loss of a man who loved people more like Jesus than anyone we’d ever met before in our lives. Truth be told, I’m not sure we’ve seen anyone who loves like him since. Wherever he was, people flocked to him and felt loved by him. His life touched many lives. It touched ours. He is the man who invited us into to ministry at Shoreline, introducing us to what is now our greatest passion. We are so thankful. And for all the lives he impacted, we knew we were special. It was an honor for us to be so loved by Melvin Lee.
When he passed away, our lives felt the shock of it. As we helped prepare a warm arrival for his family from out-of-town at the hotel where they were staying, we got a call from my mother-in-law, who was at our home watching our kids. She called to tell us Brendan had fallen out of the neighbor’s window while playing, and his arm appeared to be broken. We took him to Dell children’s hospital to find out it was the worst break in that location of the elbow they’d seen in years. He needed surgery. Pins were put in. The doctors cautioned us about watching his growth plate to make sure it continued to grow correctly, and we stayed in the hospital for days so the doctors could keep an eye on him. We had family stay at the hospital with Brendan while we went to the funeral. A friend picked me up to take me to the service, as David had to go early to be a pallbearer. I felt numb. The shock of my son’s injury – the shock of a dear friend passing – it all felt like so much. Too much.
We weren’t even sure our son would be able to perform the solo he’d practiced so hard for months to sing. Everything was up in the air while we waited to hear when he’d be released. When we heard the news he’d get out the day of the first performance we knew a decision had to be made. Would we take him still slightly groggy from his meds, or would we let a stand in take the place he so treasured? My husband, Brendan and I decided – he would sing.
We left the hospital and went straight to rehearsal before the show. We prayed he’d be med free enough to sing with energy and joy. And our sweet boy got up there on stage and he brought tears to women and grown men alike as they listened to him belt out:
All is well, all is well
Angels and men rejoice
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love’s light…
All is well, all is well
Lift up your voice and sing
Born is now Emmanuel
Born is our Lord and Savior
Sing Alleluia, sing Alleluia, all is well
It brings me to tears even now as I remember my brave boy telling all within ear shot that though he had fallen out a window just a few days prior; though he’d just had surgery and a casted arm up to his shoulder; though someone our family loved was no longer with us….
ALL IS WELL.
I don’t know what your year has been like. I don’t know what you are walking through this Christmas season. I do know that same message my sweet son belted out to all within ear shot all those years ago is still true today. All is well, for ‘to us a child is born, to us a son is given… And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace(Isaiah 9:6).’ All is well because love came down to heal us, restore us, and make everything that’s gone wrong in our world right again.
Let’s pray: Father God thank you for loving us. Thank you for sending your son into this world to display your love to us until his very last breath. Thank you for the peace and calm you speak to our hearts even in the most trying of seasons. And thank you for the ways you remind us of your presence with us always. You are God with us. We praise you. In Jesus name, amen