It was a recognition and celebration of Jesus' Birthday, yes. I can't recall not ever knowing that much but what I remember most is the feeling it seemed to bring with it...the one that cast its magical spell of joy over everyone I knew or crossed paths with and just somehow made them more jovial, more giving, more...better. (at least most of them)
Even up into my adult years, when it became more about the giving than receiving (which truly is more rewarding), it still brought that same beautiful magic with it and left me counting down the days until the warm gatherings and celebrations with all the ones I loved the most in the world. And once I became a mother? That magic was only magnified tenfold.
Then the unthinkable happened and the world as I had known it crumbled into a million shattered pieces, taking my heart down with it. And all right smack dab in the middle of the most wonderful time of the year. How would I ever be the same again? And how would I ever even manage to get through, much less love, the Christmas Season ever again?
But you know what? I did. I do. I still love it. In spite of it all. That first year was the hardest (as all the firsts are) but I decided I had to embrace it head on, for my boys, if nothing else. And an amazing thing happened...The magic showed up anyway. Maybe not the same as it had always been but it SHOWED UP.
That was nine years ago and I still love Christmas.
I know there are many of you out there who have recently experienced the loss of someone you love which, no matter what time of year it happened, makes this time of year difficult because that very important person is missing. I understand. I get it. This one is for you...
It's a little book of an old poem, Death Is Nothing At All, that I somehow stumbled across and bought for myself back in those early days of grief. It brought me great comfort each time I read it and my hope is that it will do the same for you...
Death is nothing at all...
I have only slipped away into the next room...
I am I and you are you...
whatever we were to each other
that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar
name, speak to me in the easy
way which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone;
wear no forced air of solemnity or
Laugh as we always laughed at
the little jokes we enjoyed
Play, smile, think of me, pray
Let my name be ever the
household word that it always
Let it be spoken without effect,
without the ghost of a shadow
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there
is absolutely unbroken
What is this death but a
I am just waiting for you, for an
interval, somewhere very near,
Be gentle with yourself,