I miss Eliza so much and the holidays are so much more difficult than last year. I must have been in shock last last year because I don’t remember any of these feelings. This year I want to buy her presents, I want to drive around looking at Christmas lights and take her to Christmas Town. I want to give Eliza her first candy cane and dress her in Christmas outfits for the entire month. I want her to sit in Santa’s lap and I want to snuggle on the couch with her and watch Christmas movies even if we just end up watching Frozen over and over again.
But I can’t, because she isn’t here.
I’ve always loved Christmas. I have great memories from my childhood. Memories of red and green construction paper chains that my brother and I would take turns ripping off until Christmas. And the advent calendar that we would open every morning just for the simple joy of seeing what the picture was behind each door. Every year we went to Christmas Eve service and then we came home and opened 1 small gift. My mom and dad would pull out the trundle bed and my brother and I would sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve barely able to close ours eyes because we were so excited. When we woke we would sit patiently at the top of the stairs and wait for my parents to get their coffee and turn on Christmas music, then we would run down stairs to see what Santa brought.
I loved those traditions and I always knew that I would continue them with my family, with Eliza. And then in an instant it’s taken away with so many Christmases left to celebrate together.
The holidays are sad for me now. There are no lights on the house, no tree covered in handmade ornaments or stockings hanging from the fireplace. Eliza is gone and I have no reason to celebrate. No reason to be “jolly” or “make spirits bright”. It really just reminds me of what I don’t have. December is just like any other month now but a little harder and a little more sad…and it’s not as easy to choose joy over sorrow.
It’s lonely even if I’m surrounded by a hundred people. Every where I look all I see is happy families buying Christmas trees, lines at the grocery store with shopping carts full of cranberry sauce and turkeys and roasts to make for Christmas dinner and happy families posing for pictures in perfect matching outfits, just like I used to do.
And now most mornings I wish I could just hide under the covers in my pajamas until January 2nd.
And when I am at my lowest something or someone reminds me why we really celebrate Christmas. If I took away Santa, and toys and candy canes what would I be left with, what would any of us be left with… The birth of Jesus. The ONE who Eliza sits with in heaven. The only one who can truly bring peace during the most difficult days.
So THAT is what I will celebrate, for the next one hundred Christmases. Through the pain of missing my only child, the one who made me a mama, the one that I had all my hopes and dreams in. I will celebrate the ONE who surrounds Eliza with more love than I could ever imagine. And maybe some years their will be trees and stockings and some years their won’t, but every year I will set my eyes on HIM and focus on the reason for Christmas… Jesus
even if it’s in my bed, wearing pajamas under the covers…until January.
Luke 2:9-12 “Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”