Holidays are always celebrated as family times. And of all of the holidays, celebrating the birth of Christ is especially associated with families joining together in love and fellowship. That’s why this time of year is particularly difficult for me. I seem to remember something from each of the 43 Christmases we had together. When our children were small Sally would work diligently to make this season special to each of them. She was the most exacting gift wrapper that I’ve ever witnessed. She wrapped each gift for each child specially so that Christmas morning was a time to witness the incredible joy of our family. Even as they got older she stilled treated their Christmases as she did when they were younger.
And then God granted us grandchildren. What had been so wonderful for our children was now exponentially better! We could give, and give, and give again without apology. We could love each of them without limits. And she did that.
The past few years each of our children had their own holiday plans, so we would all meet at our house the week after Christmas. It was almost as good as was Christmas, seeing each of our children with their families, watching our grandchildren play with their cousins, and just being thankful for what our mighty Father had allowed us to steward.
But I remember so clearly her final Christmas. She only lived for another three weeks after. But she so deeply enjoyed having them all there. I’m sharing the last photo we’ll ever have of all of us. She’s in the right center of the picture. As ill as she was she joined in all of the festivities and hugged each of the children and grandchildren and called them by name.
When I look at this I grieve so. I miss her and I miss the love that flowed from her to our family. I miss her enjoyment of the special season that was our family Christmas. But most of all I grieve for me because there’s a huge part of me that has been torn away. Torn away never to return until I am with her again in Heaven.