I love Christmas. I love twinkly snow, sparkling lights, hot apple cider, a reason to shop for all your loved ones, another amazing reason to celebrate our king. I remember Christmas concerts as a little girl, the silent night candle lighting on Christmas Eve and receiving my first puppy from Santa when I was 3. To be honest, I had over 100 pairs of Christmas socks and wore solely those for 6 years straight. I can taste my moms puppy chow and cranberry salad. I remember being woken up to a video camera and a happy soon to be daddy who couldn’t capture enough. I love reminiscing on the pictures from the following year Fareed took of William in his Santa outfit. I remember the joy he got watching William open gifts. I realized that on the 23rd my husband would always need to disappear for a couple hours. I cherish that small Tiffany heart necklace he got me our first Christmas. He knew I loved the movie Breakfast at Tiffanys and told me one day he would get me a bigger one. I’m so thankful for the camera that would capture so many of our last precious months together. Christmas is a time for family, a time for hope.
It’s hard to get into the joyful side of Christmas when a huge part of our family is gone. My parents lives have been completely altered for this last year. My mom has been with us, and while my dad comes to visit often it’s not the same. We have been traveling between houses to keep some normalcy. With Charles being born the first part of November, I put up my tree on Halloween. We can’t do many outings with two little ones- so friends and church are limited. Speaking of two little ones, that is an adjustment in itself. Some people struggle adjusting and their life wasn’t completely thrown apart months earlier. My mom just got her mini tree out at their house for this year. The big one was just to much work she said. My brothers will both be here for Christmas which is a blessing. We are trying our hardest for normal in a very not so normal year.
Four days after Christmas is my 25th birthday, three days later New Years. All I can think about is the missing piece. No one to help watch the boys open gifts, no one to create family traditions with, no one to cheers me on a quarter century, or plan a surprise, no one to kiss as the clock strikes twelve, and no one to hope and dream of the future ahead. Before I met Fareed I loved when it would get cold at night. I’m from South Dakota so snuggling in blankets is a must. Last weeks cold brought much different emotions. I woke chilly and leaned over to grab for Fareed. Even the cold reminds me he is gone. I hope one day my main thoughts aren’t about the loss but the joy. I’m so thankful for those 800 days but I’m still so heartbroken that there weren’t at least 18,000 more. I want to get to a place where I’m happy for the memories made- not sad for the ones we never will.
Above all, The thing I want most for Christmas is Fareed back. But, remember, I don’t have that choice. So I hope I can find magic in other parts of this season this year. I hope that the twinkle in the boys eyes won’t bring water to mine. I hope that William continues to sing “jinga ball” for days. I hope the blow up “Tanta” down the street never stops standing. I pray that I witness random acts of kindness that remind me of the Christmas’ beauty. I want energy to be a great giver. I hope I am able to be surrounded by friends and family on my birthday. They don’t replace the hole, but they remind me to live, to laugh. As the clock strikes midnight I will remember a very difficult year, one that I will leave behind. I will look forward to a new year of endless possibilities, learning to love life again and to embrace this crazy mess.
Think about the Christmas Story. Jesus was born of a Virgin. Mary had to be very scared. Joseph had to be super skeptical. They had no where to stay that evening. But, they trusted God. Many waited in anticipation for his coming, for our savior. This Christmas may not be one of Yuletide joy for us. But, I can relate to the story itself. I’m scared of the future. I am Skeptical to release my sorrow, tragedy, and fears. I wait in anticipation. I hope for our savior.
As I stare into that candle this Christmas Eve, I will be reminded of the most beautiful story- much larger than my own. A story of a king who came in human flesh to save his people from pain and suffering. I contemplated even writing a blog for the holidays. I know it’s not my typical writing. Quite honestly, it’s hard to be my joyous self these weeks. But- this is where I am.
I never realized how hard the holidays could truly be for some until this year. Please, do not be blind to others sorrow. Choose someone to give hope to this holiday season. Don’t just do it in the typical charity way. Go sit and drink apple cider with someone who is lonely. Build a snowman or gingerbread house with a child. The best presents don’t always come wrapped in shiny paper. We will always remember the memories over the things.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”