Well, I did it. I wasn’t sure I would be able too, but I did. I mean I’m still not completely done, but am I ever really?… I knew it would be hard and different this year. Usually, there’s an excitement and joy that’s so motivating that I can hardly contain myself. So, for something that I love so much to be tainted by a sense of dread, it’s so unfamiliar to me. However, like all hard things that must be done, sometimes you just have to push through and face your fear head on. I mean…I wanted to… I needed to, if I am to remain myself despite the grief cloud that surrounds me.
As I opened the closet under the stairs and stared at the boxes and totes, I tried to prepare myself for what I might find inside of them. After all, the things inside, were placed there in what seems like another life. I hadn’t felt the gut punch in my stomach for a while, but I could feel it slightly there-just below the surface. It didn’t matter though, I knew what must be done. I hate that grief as ruined even this—this one thing that means so much to us. I felt determined though…vowing to not let it win. So, slowly I began pulling out the boxes and facing the treasures inside, mixed with tears and smiles, all at the same time. Slowly I found your handmade ornaments and other ornaments that you carefully picked to be your own someday, your Santa hat with your name on it, the framed pictures with Santa, the decorations that bring back those nostalgic feelings of excitement every year. Then, there was your stocking-it stopped me in my tracks. I so vividly remember the thought and care that I took when I purchased it for you. It was before your first Christmas. You see, I wanted to get an extra special stocking that would be yours for life. One that would withstand the passage of time and decorating fads and be a treasured heirloom for you, even after I was gone. It wasn’t suppose to be this way. All the traditions, all the extra efforts that go into making this the most wonderful time of the year—it was easier to do for you and your sister. It was about teaching you that the birth of our savior changed everything and that it’s worth making a big deal about. Showing you that sharing this season, and our home, with family and all the ones we love is such an important way to be a good steward of what God has blessed us with and the Good News of our Savior.
I imagine you now understand all of that beyond what is possible for me to fathom. I wonder if it always feels like Christmas in heaven? I promise to keep teaching your sister those things. I’ll continue to share the nostalgia, the recipes, the moments, and the traditions. It just feels like there’s someone missing.
I still hung your stocking. I can’t leave it in the box. If I can’t look across the room and see your face on Christmas morning, at least I will see your name and all the reminders of you. This Christmas will feel different for many reasons, with COVID and all. I promise that I won’t let it change me. The wonder of it all is still something to celebrate and worship. That Jesus would humble himself to become human and then give himself over to death… well, I’m sure that means even more now that you’ve seen His full glory. I mean here on earth we all really only see him as human Jesus. That’s not all there is to see though is there? If there’s one thing I know for sure that you will be doing this Christmas- it’s worshiping. So I will too.