Today started out badly. Duane leaves for work about 5:30am. I usually get up to walk on my secondhand NordicTrack, which sits next to my office desk. If I do this immediately, the day begins fairly well.
However, today, I stopped at my computer and glanced at email while tying my shoelaces. Never should have done that. An email from my son caught my eye.
He thanked us for sending Christmas presents early, by way of their friend, who flew to Peru this week. The gifts had arrived safely.
Then, my mind went where no mind should ever go: another Christmas without our kids.
Oh, it got worse. This will be seven Christmases our youngest, and his family, have been missionaries in Lima, Peru. As if this isn’t painful enough, this year, our daughter and her family, moved to Atlanta, Georgia. For the first time EVER, she will not be home for Christmas.
I stopped tying the laces and put my shoes down. There would be no walking today.
As a parent of small children, I never gave a thought to future possibilities of celebrating Christmas without the kids. It never entered my mind that life might get in the way at Christmas time.
Christmas is about being with the ones you love most. Christmas is where memories are made and hearts are bonded together. It doesn’t matter what may transpire all year long; because, everything is set aside for the main event.
Weeks are spent baking cookies, taking pictures, decorating the house, taking pictures, participating in church programs, taking pictures, shopping for each other and then, the climax, around the Christmas tree, exchanging presents and taking pictures.
I think I am going to eat an entire box of Ding Dongs.
I have always loved Christmas. I love every part. I buy each Christmas present, anticipating the look on the individual faces of my kids and grandkids. I try to shop intentionally, anguishing over each item. I certainly don’t spend a lot; but, I make mental notes all year, listening to their interests and wishes. This way, they will know we care about their deepest desires.
Seven of our 10 grandkids will not be here this year. Two of our three kids will not be here. It sure takes the joy out of shopping.
I have heard of, and now apparently am experiencing, Christmas gloom.
Wait. I need to get out of this.
The very first Christmas both Mary and Joseph were miles away from their families for the biggest event in their lives, Jesus birth! They were completely alone. Their parents were without them too.
What are the chances they sat around gloomily licking their wounds?
Okay, I have a chance to make this year extra special for our kids who will be here celebrating with us. It’s an opportunity to start new traditions and have a new kind of fun.
Put down the Ding Dongs. Pick up the shoes. I am going to walk today.