I am entertained by lights at Christmas. I enjoy driving and looking at the various homes decorated with lights, soft candle light and twinkling lights on a Christmas tree. But, I will admit, sometimes too much is just too much.
There are a variety of things I look forward to at Christmas. However, for those who have lost a loved one, the holidays can be difficult. There are memories that can bring joy and other memories which bring pain and regret. I have experienced, like many, both.
I love reminiscing about my grandparents at Christmas time. They would always give us new PJ’s or underwear. Growing up just 3 miles away from my grandparent’s farm was such a blessing. We would always spend holidays together. I have memories of oyster stew, Grandma’s special macaroni and cheese, pinwheel date cookies and Grandpa’s box of chocolate covered cherries. For years after my grandmother passed I would think, ”Oh, I should call and tell Grandma this.” She was always a safe place, and I still miss her dearly today.
I also think about the child I lost through abortion. There were many years where it was the last thing I wanted to think about at Christmas. When I began my journey toward healing, I really didn’t want to think about the uniqueness of my child. Eventually, I began to pray and ask God if He would reveal something to me about my child, after all He knows her. He knit her together in my womb. One day I felt this prompting in my heart say, “Her name is Joy”. This caught me off guard and again I felt a prompting, “I call her Joy”. Joy would have been born in January. The season in which we celebrate the birth of a child, Christ, I was also to be celebrating the arrival of Joy. I’d always known when she was due, and this time of year had become difficult for me. A few years back our kids bought me a Christmas ornament that says Joy on it. Today the child I lost is remembered as a part of our family.
Thinking of my daughter this way might sound odd to some. She was a precious life that was cut short. I’ve been able to grieve her life just as one who has lost a child through miscarriage, still birth, and, to some degree, those who have lost a child at any age. I believe our loved ones would want us to remember with joy the time we had with them.
Do you have ways you remember your loved ones at Christmas? Maybe it’s something special you always make or a special Christmas ornament you hang. What a wonderful time of the year it is! Our focus should be to reflect on the gift of Jesus to the world. We also get to reflect on the gift of others in our lives, regardless of how short their time with us might have been.
I pray your memories of Christmas past be filled with peace, joy and love and that you have a blessed Christmas 2016.