I love Christmas. Everything about it…celebrating Christ’s birth, the decorations, lights, gifts, food, parties. Everything.
I’ve always looked forward to celebrating Christmas with my own family and establishing new traditions and carrying on old ones. Zach and I had our first Christmas as husband and wife exactly 3 months after we got married. The only Christmas decorations we had were a tree and 2 houses in my Christmas Village 🙂
Last year, our second Christmas together, I was 7 months pregnant with Hannah. We spent the day dreaming about how the holiday would never be the same for us. Instead of focusing on ourselves, we knew that Christmas would soon revolve around our children. So, we treasured the last time we would spend the day together – just the two of us – and dreamed about our first Christmas as a family with a child.
This year, I’m supposed to have a 9 month old daughter at home. We should be getting ready to celebrate her first Christmas. My tree should have an ornament on it marking the big occasion. I should have to worry about putting my glass ornaments at the bottom of the tree. I should be shopping for her. I should be taking Hannah to get her picture taken with Santa. I should be sending out Christmas cards with a family photo. I should be buying her the perfect little outfits to wear for all of our Christmas get-togethers. I should be doing a lot of things for the very first time!
Instead, all I could buy were flowers and a Christmas tree for her grave site. No mom should have to do that.
I won’t spend this year making new memories with my sweet daughter. I’ll spend the days trying to hold back tears and praying that I can just make it through. It took me over 3 weeks to just decorate my Christmas tree. The only other thing I set out is our Nativity set. My growing Christmas village sits in boxes on the floor of my den. My second tree is completely bare…I didn’t even buy lights to put on it. The wreathes that go on all the windows are in plastic bags on the floor. And, at this point, that’s where it will stay. I just can’t decorate anymore. I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping…for anyone…let alone the children in my life. I’m not sure I’ll even buy a single gift. The thought of shopping seems overwhelming, especially since the only person I want to shop for is in heaven. I haven’t even decided if I’m going to leave the house on Christmas.
I am more grateful right now than at any other time in my life for the gift of Jesus, but I don’t have a desire to celebrate what it has become in our culture. Not this year. And, yes, I know that people joined together to celebrate and gifts were given during that first Christmas season, but I think you know what I mean. And, I am afraid that this will be Noah’s only Christmas with us, so I feel pressure to celebrate it for him and in Hannah’s memory, but I just don’t know what the holidays will look like for us this year.
I know I’m not the only one who will struggle through this Christmas. And, since losing Hannah, I’ve realized that people deal with grief and sadness in a lot of different ways. I try (but it seems like I’m always failing – I’m a work in progress!) not to be so quick to judge someone because it’s true that you never know what they are dealing with in their personal lives. That grinch may just be someone trying to make it through Christmas in one piece.