Monday, December 5, 2016

Celebrating Life at Christmas

The Treasure Box of Memories

You know, I struggle with the whole Christmas thing.  Each year I seek more strength to get through it.  Not because I don’t like Christmas, but it sometimes is a constant reminder of the people I am missing.  I open the box of Christmas decorations and then I close it again. I must open those boxes at least a hundred times before I get the courage to put one decoration on the tree.  Maybe because there are generations of decorations in those boxes.  Grandparents, parents, children and now our own grandchildren.

Many of these decorations carry so many memories of laughter and unconditional love.  The smell of fresh baked apple pie or the turkey roasting in the oven it was awesome.  We danced and sang to Christmas carols even it we did not want to we did it as a family.  It was the one time of the year that we spent as a family.  If there was any animosity amongst others it was forgotten about on Christmas day, it was magical.

So, I finally wrestle up the courage to hang the decorations on the tree, but it has become such a process now.  It should be happy and magical, but I just can’t do it.  When I place those irreplaceable memories on the tree I cannot help but grieve for my loved ones that are not able to share in the memories anymore.  Its natural, right?  I mean I do have this sense that they are here and I am blessed to see the subtle signs like seeing dimes in the boxes, or seeing feathers, a special fragrance and lights flickering.  Its just not the same somehow there is still this emptiness inside.   I know its is up to me to create new memories and Lord I try, but I am dismayed with what Christmas has become.

My memories sometimes take me to a bad place in which I see my family members suffering, but so humbly.  Never once did they complain about dying or about being sick.  Each day, hour, minute and second was scared and even in the darkest moments when their health was ailing we remembered the good times and continued to laugh.  Facing death is very scary and it is something no one wants to think about, but its reality.  I suppose if you have had the pleasure of communicating with your loved ones on the other side it doesn’t seem so scary.  What seems scary to me is we have lost focus on what truly is important.

We frantically search for the perfect gift for the in-law that we talk about and snicker about behind their back, or we push and shove others to get that last toy on the shelf.  Never mind the parking lots, circling around just to get a parking spot and once you do then you must wrestle with sour crowds of people. Oh, yes and then X-mas, jeepers that is just so disrespectful to the season.  Yeah yeah I know its just the short form so I have been told, but its not right.  Keep Christ in Christmas.

So, as I place the last decoration with courage I smile and remember that the memories we shared were of love and laughter.  Sure, we could have wished for more time, but the time we shared was cherished.  It was not wasted on silliness.  Mind you my mother was a little outrageous, but her heart was always in the right place and she did it with an unselfish heart.  I would give anything to dance with her one last time on Christmas day. 

If you are blessed with family, this Christmas build a lifetime of memories.   Memories, kindness, and gratitude is much more prosperous in the heart then gifts are.   Remember Christmas is a celebration of a special life, a birth and we should be doing exactly that celebrating our life!