For others, however, it can be full of bittersweet emotions and they have just learned to roll with the holiday in front of them and all the feelings that go with it.
Holidays, and especially Christmas, definitely have a different feel to them in my house since Noah died. Gone is his laughter, his anticipation of what was under the tree for him and his excitement of running to see what Santa had surprised him with on Christmas morning.
When Haleigh Raye and Noah were younger they loved the decorations that went along with Christmas. We always did the best to adorn the house (even though I, being very uncrafty and uncreative,
But, now, those are distant memories that only my thoughts and pictures can make come alive again and, oh, how I miss tripping over Barbie's jeep as she and Santa were out on a late night cruise through the living room.
Haleigh Raye has asked for a "magical Christmas" this year and we have aimed to please her in our home but we we also wanted to do more this year at the cemetery. More for us than for Noah. I wanted to include things he had a part in from our house but didn't want to risk anything being damaged so I was selective in my choosing. We gathered our things, picked up our donated live tree and set off to the cemetery. A Sunday afternoon, filled with Christmas music playing in the background, quickly passed while cleaning the Lego headstones and decorating.
For the tree I chose a cup similar to the one he would make his famous chocolate milk in and also an ornament he and Haleigh Raye purchased for me, as a fundraiser, when our church was in a building campaign for our children's building.
I also brought out one of my kids' most treasured Christmas traditions. The nativity set. They loved to play with it. They would act out the birth of Jesus over and over. The wiseman made the long journey of our hallway more times than I could ever count and Noah had down pat the sound of a donkey. They would play with it so much but their favorite was the baby Jesus. I would find him everywhere. From the shower to under the bed to being hauled around on a Tonka Truck, baby Jesus definitely had his own share of adventures at our house at Christmas. I would be aggravated when baby Jesus would not be put back to his manager scene. I would go, find him and explain to the kids how he needed to be back with Mary and Joseph. Was it really that hard to remember?
All those memories came back to me as I placed the baby Jesus the one place I never thought I would.
At my son's grave.
And that is joy. That is peace. That is God's grace and His mercy that only He can give.
How I will spend this Christmas is a way I never thought I would but there are still blessings to be found, love to be given and hope in an eternal future that can never be taken away. I wish I was still finding ornaments all over my house but I'm thankful I know how the entire story goes and where that baby Jesus and my own baby ended up.
My prayer for you, this Christmas, is for love and peace to find you wherever you are.
From our family to yours may you have a
Happy, HAPPY Christmas!