This has been a year to reflect on our family Christmas memories. With the death of my daughter this year the details of Christmas are more pronounced than ever. The glaring reminders that it is time to celebrate even though I’m not quite in the mood.
I’ve found that I am over-consciously aware of my surroundings. The trees are greener, the decorations more detailed, and I have a sense of every Christmas smell. Yesterday we had an extended family get-together and someone wrote nutmeg as a reminder of the season. I could almost smell it in a pumpkin pie even though there wasn’t one in the house. It is as if my senses are on steroids aware of every particular aspect surrounding me– especially the vacuum deep in my soul. The hollowness of something missing. Someone is missing.
As the children’s choir stood on stage this year, I saw our daughter as an 8 years old be-bopping to the music. As I shopped I saw her as a 13 year old spraying all the scents at the perfume counter deciding which was the best. I remembered when she came home from college one year and we went Christmas shopping on Black Friday. We could barely carry all the bags to the car because of all the outfits we bought her for under $50 at the Macy’s sale.
Memories are everywhere I go with all the details. And I will admit that not all of them are good. The things I got upset about. The frustration I showed in my voice. The things I could have said differently or the hug that I could have extended in a difficult moment. You see, at the time, the details weren’t so vivid. They were lost in the commotion of everything else that had to be done.
And if I can convey anything to you as a mom, “Please don’t let everything else around you be more important than the details with your kids. The table might not be perfect or the pie might be a little burnt. You might forget to buy the nuts for Uncle Ted’s favorite cranberry sauce. But-none-of-it-matters.”
The only thing that matters is what they will remember–what you will remember.
- If we’re tired and worn out, they’ll remember us yelling at them for the umpteenth time.
- If we have one more thing to do, they’ll remember that we didn’t have time for them.
- If everything isn’t perfect and we let them know, they’ll think they never measure up.
- If impressing our extended family is more important than our kids’ requests, they’ll feel they aren’t as important as others in the room.
We have the power to change all that. But it takes looking at the details. It means we have to look in the mirror at us. What do we want our children to see? What do we want their detailed memories to be?
Even though our loss is heavy, I choose to see the flip-side. Now instead of singing on stage as an 8 year old, my daughter is singing with a choir of real angels glorifying our heavenly Father in person. She has a front row seat to what the season is all about. She smells the sweet aroma of sacrifice as she’s dressed in white.
The details of all the Christmas hymns seem to have more meaning to me now. Even though there is a void, I long to hear the words of the carols. “We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!”
Now that the crazy busyness is over in preparation for the Christmas season, I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on what this season really means to you and what you want for your kids. Even if your teens and tweens are in a stage where they are tough to love, try to extend grace in the midst of their struggle. These are times when we need the strength of our heavenly Father.
Someone sent me an email earlier this week and the words have resonated with me all week. It’s what I want this Christmas season.
I hope your Christmas is filled with silent moments with the King, and love overflowing to family and friends.
Silent moments with the King! That’s what I want.
Now that Christmas is here, I hope you will rest in Him. May He be your guide and strength during the season. And may your silent moments with the King reveal the details of His everlasting love.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
May His favor rest on you as you create memories this holiday season. May you find peace in Him today and be sure to find time to carve out silent moments with the King.
“Let go…and Let God”,
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