It’s hard to celebrate much this year. After all, my Daddy died July 19th, and my world was changed forever. I didn’t realize it would affect me so deeply, but it has. It’s hard to feel like celebrating anything. Not Thanksgiving, not Christmas, not his upcoming birthday.
It feels wrong. I know it’s wrong to not celebrate Jesus’s birthday, to Bah Humbug the season rather than rejoice in all that I have and in all my blessings, but I find myself wishing it was over rather than getting excited about the presents and family time and thanking God for sending his Son to die for my sins.
And then my daughters talk about their Papa. They excitedly chatter about the presents under the tree—maybe a few more than I’d planned so they look back on this Christmas for how bountiful it was, not the family member missing from our annual brunch. My girls talk about how we celebrate Jesus’s birthday, singing Christmas carols in the car and begging to go to Chick-Fil-A so we can drive under the lit arch. They shout about “lights on the left,” eagerly pointing out the meager lights as if the entire neighborhood was lit up and viewable from space. They opened a gift my Daddy bought for them two years ago, but thought them too young for, last night. One last gift from their Papa. While it’s a toy they will tire of at some point, I know it’s one I will treasure for the rest of my life.
My daughters remind me that Christmas is about Jesus—not me. They remind me that it’s about giving, not receiving. It’s not about having my dad at my breakfast table, but about having him in my heart. It’s about what we have to look forward to—a heavenly homecoming—not the pain of loss. I’m so unbelievably blessed to have my little girls to remind me what this time is really about, and what life is really about. Yes, this Christmas is hard. It’s full of pain and tears and longing to have my dad back for just one hug. But it’s also a reminder of how much my Heavenly Father loves me and cares for me, just as he sent my Daddy here to do on earth. My gift has already been received, and no present under the tree could compare.
When we settle down to Christmas brunch this year, there will be a seat for my Daddy. I think it will be a great way to honor him and his life.
Have you made a place for your Father in your heart and in your life? If ever there is a time we are reminded of God’s love for us, it’s at Christmastime, as we celebrate God sending His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. As for me and my house, we will save Him a place at our table.