I do not recall in any kind of detail, the thoughts that went through my mind thirty years ago. My fiance was insisting in my going to Christmas Eve service that evening in spite of me wanting to have anything to do with God at all. I felt that my minister had spurned me, because he was too busy (of course he was, it was the Christmas season). But I was really angry. I had everything going for me. I was getting married in five months. And instead, I was facing something that had the possibility of killing me.
I did attend services that evening, candlelight. Admittedly, it is one of the more beautiful services to attend. But as the night wore on, my anger turned to tears, as best as I could to hide them from everyone around me. No one else had known yet was I was dealing with. But I found myself finally, perhaps not as tough as I thought I was, scared even.
Over the decades, I have gotten to enjoy so many more Christmas holidays. And none could be more meaningful than those celebrated with my two daughters.
However, just as I experienced thirty years ago, the holidays are not always so joyous because for one reason or another someone may not be able to be with us, or perhaps is no longer with us. Soldiers protecting us overseas or stationed somewhere other than close to home. Distance apart from loved ones. Tragedies.
I miss so many at this time of year, family and friends. Perhaps none so more deeply than my daughters and my father. While I will get to see my children during the holiday, it was Christmas-time that I saw the side of my father that I never got to see as a child, though in the role of “pappy.” Not caring for the holiday at all because of what happened to my stepmother, he went out of his way, above and beyond to make sure his house was ready for when my daughters came to visit. Finally at an age where they can understand what had happened, back then, all they saw was a joyful “pappy” and were all to willing to play with all the interactive decorations that he put on display, knowing he would play with them.
I do miss my dad, especially right now. I miss being with my children. And I definitely miss that interaction between the three of them. And I know I am not alone in having feelings like this, which I know can make this time of year very difficult for so many.
But I truly hope, that somehow, you can find a way, make a pleasant memory of this holiday.
To everyone reading this, I wish you a very Merry Christmas (and happy holidays to those who do not celebrate Christmas but rather celebrate the holiday season in other ways).