Between the silver bells ringing, decking of the halls, and the lovely branches of the tree, Christmas can become overwhelming. Especially if you’re grieving. If that’s how you’re feeling this holiday season, I want you to know that you aren’t alone.
My chest squeezes as I remember Christmas mornings when I was little, padding through the house in my house shoes to the living room where Mom and Dad were always waiting. I couldn’t sit still from anticipation to see their faces when they opened the presents I had bought or made and to see what was under the wrappers with my name.
And I knew we’d spend the day together. Lunch would be with more of the family, but the rest of the day was us. It’s not even that we had a lot of different things we always did. Just the fact that we were together.
This will be my eighth Christmas without my dad.
My eyes are stinging as I type. I guess in some ways it gets easier, but then sometimes, it seems harder. I can admire a tree and giggle when I find the perfect gift for someone. Then it gets quiet, and I sit in the living room with garland around the columns and the start of a Christmas village like Momaw always had, and I feel melancholy. Sometimes hollow, even.
Echoes drift through my mind of Christmas carols with my parents and putting out a plate of cookies for Santa, who wasn’t real, but I sure wasn’t going to say that out loud. And I know it will never be like that again.
I have wonderful memories from my childhood, and I have great ones as an adult. I plan to make more this year. It’s just a different season of Christmas. Sometimes it’s hard to think of those Christmases and label them Past. But there’s still Christmas Present. I love and am loved more deeply by more people than I ever deserved to be. And though this Christmas won’t be an idyllic childhood Christmas, it can be festive and meaningful.
It’s ok to be sad at Christmas. But it’s ok to be happy too. And it’s alright to say how you are really feeling to those you care about. Don’t try to isolate yourself or your feelings because they aren’t traditional. If you don’t have anyone to say those things to, you can say them here to me. I’ll listen, and I’ll say them back.
Let’s remind ourselves of why we celebrate Christmas. It’s all because the Son of God was willing to leave Heaven and live on Earth, knowing He would die for us. That’s something we can always be thankful for, no matter what.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
May the Lord bless and keep you,