Now that I have told you a couple of my own personal Christmas Bummer stories, I need to share with you some of my fondest Christmas Joys. Fortunately, I have been blessed with many wonderful Christmas memories. One thing they almost all have in common is that they are centered around family. Two of my favorite memories are centered around my Mom and Dad.
It has been several years since my Dad passed away from Spinal Cancer, but I will never forget his last Christmas. My siblings and I are spread out all over the country. We all have our own families and our own spouse’s families. But we all knew this particular Christmas would be special. It would be Dad’s last. He had fought and fought the cancer. He was growing thinner and weaker. He had completely hid any fears or sadness from us for a long time now. This Christmas we all came home with all of our our 12 kids, his grandchildren. They were too young to understand he was dying. They loved being around him, even when he would pick them up, hug them tightly, and rub his scruffy white beard all over their little faces. I have a beautiful picture embedded on the fore-front of my brain from this particular Christmas Eve. It was my dad sitting on his couch, in front of the Christmas tree, with 120 little toes, and 120 little fingers running and climbing all over him. He had the biggest smile on his face, and an unstoppable stream of tears coming from his left eye at the same time. It was a beautiful sight to see him so happy, and so proud. His love for us and the kids was overwhelming and so unconditional. This was Christmas Joy!
My mother passed away about 3 years ago after a very tough battle with Vascular Dementia. She was the best Grandmother any kid could have. She was called “Memaw” by her grandchildren. I can remember so vividly one Christmas when my brothers and sisters all came home again, Mom was in her tiny little kitchen preparing our Christmas Day meal. There on the floor was the same 12 little munchkins, each with a pot or pan, spoon or spatula. drumming as hard and loud as they could, to my mothers angelic voice singing “Little Drummer Boy”. It was such a wonderful sight. Each and every one of those little children were so happy and so entertained, and yet how she did it was so simple, so down to earth, so beautiful. She was magical. Pots and Pans and another Christmas Joy!
Two years ago those same siblings and those same now 15 to 28 year old children all decided to spend Christmas together in a ski lodge at Steamboat Springs Colorado. Oh yes, it was not all perfect, and every moment was not filled with joy. There were a couple of car accidents in the snow, a MCL tear, a concussion, and a few other mishaps. But there was no better time than all of us gathered in our dining room after dinner, with a freshly cut tree from the surrounded woods that looked like something from “Charlie Browns Christmas”. We were all busy as bumblebees making homemade ornaments, laughing and drinking hot chocolate, singing Christmas carols, and being one happy big family. Boy that was an ugly decorated tree. But it was a Christmas filled with Christmas Joy!
One more vivid memory before you all head off to sleep this Christmas Eve. This for me was always a joyous moment for me. When my kids were little we would put them bed and beg them to go to sleep. Then we would quietly go downstairs and wait, and wait, and wait until we were pretty sure they had pooped out, and given up listening for Santa’s reindeer on the roof, and Santa himself rumbling down the chimney. Then I would go to my closet and pull out my Santa Claus outfit, put it on with a couple of pillows(now I don’t need the pillows) under my top, strap on the white beard and red stocking cap, and gently open their doors one by one and say as low as deeply as I could, “HO HO HO, Merry Christmas”. At that moment I could see those little heads pop up, try their best to focus, and smile from ear to ear, and then quickly pass out of exhaustion again “while visions of sugar plums danced through their heads”. This was Christmas Joy for me!
We all have memories of Christmas Bummers. We all have moments of anxiety, of depression, of sickness, and misery. But we are all blessed to be able to live every minute of our lives if we choose, with Joy. Because Christ died for us and gave us his holy spirit to live and breath Joy in us, even when we are down. All we have to do is seek him and our heart and souls will be instantaneously filled with Joy. It is that simple! Try it this Christmas. Happiness is wonderful……but true Joy that one can only experience through Christ is so much better.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
I’m about as Joyous as a Puppy with two tails!
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