It rained. Oh, how it rained!

A rather unfestive three days before Christmas, the storms were so bad we couldn’t get out of the van to watch the men lower our son’s body into its resting-place. The very best we could do was pull up beside the gravesite and witness the hurried ceremony, if you could even call it that. I could see my wife’s breath on the window from her passenger seat, forming little clouds of moisture as she looked on, reverently. We held hands.

It seemed oddly profane to see our son lowered as the running rain sluiced into the earthen hole. It was made doubly so by not having the familiar words spoken over the descending casket but rather the hasty work of workmen finishing before the hole flooded.

It was December 22 and Christmas felt so far away. 

Four years have passed since that driving rainstorm served as the backdrop of one of our little family’s toughest days. It did not, however, drown our hope. Our only child – in spite of trauma, tragedy, and devilish snare – made it home for Christmas by the grace of God.

Funny what you think about in moments of deep sorrow.

Graham leading worship at The Garden in Atlanta, our last Father’s Day together

The last time I was in Graham’s company on a good day (re: clean and living with purpose) I watched him lead worship at a place called The Garden. Fittingly, it was Father’s Day, and, quite incidentally, a bright, sunny morning.

He was clad in jeans and a white fedora, with an electric guitar cradled around his broad shoulders. There was an array of snaking wires and guitar pedals at his feet. Me, I sat on the opposite side of the platform and just beamed at my boy. With axe in hand, Graham was pretty incredible if I do say so. 

I believe my son chose the first song of the worship set as a means of introducing us to himself in terms he could easily have written. I’m going to add the lyrics because it’s important to know what his heart was conveying in that unworldly moment; chiefly, that he was averse to being fake, a kid who wanted nothing more than to “make it home” by God’s grace…in spite of himself.

Here’s how Graham wanted to be remembered. This is what he wanted his mom and I to think about in that driving rain on that cold, December Sunday afternoon:

(Momma & Dad,)

I’m not trying to hide anything
I wear it on my sleeve
I wear it on my sleeve
I’m not trying to be something I’m not
This is all I’ve got
This is all I’ve got

I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel
Just trying to be real
Trying to be real
I’m not trying to say follow me
I’m not the one who leads
I’m not the one who leads

Let me introduce myself to you
This is who I am
No more, no less
I am just a man who understands
Because of You I’m blessed
No more, no less

I’m not trying to prove anything
It’s all about the change
It’s all about the change

I hope you stare just long enough to see
The heart that’s beating here inside of me
Beyond all the things you may think you know
I’m just a kid trying to make it home, that’s it
No more, no less

Lord, I want to go home
Nothing more, nothing less

Advent in our household means there’s no higher joy than our kid being home, safe and sound.

Would we love to have our own ‘Maxwell House long lost son home for the holidays waking the parents up with the aroma of coffee’ version of Christmas? A small part of us would, but then it occurs to us: Graham already beat us home.

Selah, beloved.

From us to you, the happiest of Christmases and the joy of the Spirit of Christ – who is our eternal Home – be yours.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 Scott Mitchell

Post Author: Pasturescott

9 Replies to “home for christmas”

  1. Oh with my full heart and soul I am thinking and Praying for you and Sandy. It took strength to write this and to share. How I miss you so. God Bless You both during this holiday season.

  2. You all are in our thoughts and prayers! Thank you for sharing. Oh what hope and peace we have in Jesus as we face life’s storms. So thankful for His presence. May the Lord bless you this Christmas with His joy!

  3. And still….tho no surprise.…my most royal big brother…bc of your cleaving so tightly to our Lord and His promises….you still mentor me in such miraculous, freshly anointed ways. Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you and your lovely most royal bride,Mrs Sandy…👑📖🍭📯🎄🍃

  4. I think God has left you here to keep telling the stories of grace and the ultimate healing in Jesus Christ. My heart aches for the losses and the pain but I am so proud of you and Sandy and your determination to “keep getting up” and “walking it out with Jesus ” —YES…walking Scott ! 🙂 You walk better than most, to be honest. It’s a joy and privilege to be called a friend to you and Sandy. Thank you for sharing the pain and also pointing us to the hope we have in Jesus. May your Christmas be sweet and filled with the presence and peace of the Savior and new purpose for the New Year. Love to you and Sandy!

  5. I can’t imagine my dear brother what it was like for Sandy and you on that cold , dreary, rainy day to say good bye to Grahmn, but you have given us a glimpse of what it must have been like for Heaven and a Father who so loved us to sendHis Son to become The Lamb for a sin sick world. I pray blessings for you and Sandy. We are here but for a speck of time and we’ll be reunited with our loved ones that have gone on before us. Merry Christmas to you and Sandy. We love you. Alan, Grove City, Pa.

  6. Scott, I read this several days ago ,but the Lord brought me back to it today. Today is one of those days I am battling condemnation over my own lack of growth and frustration over the choices of others. The Lord seemed to zero me in on the phrase in Graham’s song, ” I’m just a kid trying to make it home.” Boy, isn’t that who we all are. With our struggles and failures and baggage and two steps forward and three steps back…..just kids, His kids, trying to cling to grace and get home. Somehow that phrase gives me freedom to release myself and others to be who we are….. His broken AND beloved kids….and maybe extend a little grace in the mirror and across the table. Thank you, Graham, for being real enough to let the rest of us be real and for cheering us on in the cloud of witnesses as we head your way. Thank you, Scott., for being the obedient and eloquent mouthpiece I needed to hear today. Love you guys!


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