The first Christmas without my father was difficult. He usually ran the family traditions, including singing Christmas carols, Happy Birthday to Jesus, the reading of the Christmas story from the Bible and so much more. He passed away unexpectedly when my children were very young.
That year no one wanted to do Christmas at my parents home. It was decided we would host it at our home. I had tried to put off the whole grieving thing for several months. This only delayed the process but now my grief was in full swing. I was in bad shape. I complained to God about being enough for me, saying, “I miss my dad, his hugs and him telling me he loved me and was proud of me. If you are enough for me, where are your arms to hug me, where is your voice?” A week later a family friend visited our church, someone who had been close to my dad and special in my life. All he had to do was ask, “How are you?” and I began to cry. Guess what he did? He hugged me, told me he loved me and was proud of me. He was God’s arms and voice to me that year. My friend Tammy also got an ear full one day as we were out running. I cried about all things wrong in my life, old decorations, needing lights, the inexpensive slippers we bought our kids for Christmas, that I felt embarrassed about. Shortly after that, I got a call from my church letting me know they had a financial Christmas gift for us. It was only two days before Christmas. Jer and I ran to the store to buy a few more gifts and the lights we needed, feeling so thankful for our church family. While we were out shopping, Tammy snuck over and got the kids to join her in cleaning the house and replacing, as well as adding some new decorations she had bought. They had so much fun helping her with this surprise. When we arrived home, beautiful lighted garland draped over the porch fence. The table boasted a beautiful new centerpiece. Lights that needed replacing had already been taken care of. I think my heart grew several sizes larger that day, like the Grinch, only we were on the receiving end. I felt so loved, felt God’s love for me. We made it through that Christmas and you know what my kids favorite gift was that year? Those inexpensive slippers we purchased, even though they received several other really nice gifts. Slow down and enjoy your family and be grateful for all you receive, regardless of how big or small it is.