This season has been a significant one while walking towards healing. This is the first Christmas since 2011 that I have really put up decorations or felt like celebrating the holidays. And with the move to a new town and a new house it just seemed “right”. I knew I couldn’t put up my previous tree decorations. The 2011 Christmas Tree was trimmed in Red/lime green with a “Candy Land” theme. I remember specifically choosing the theme because I thought the grand kids would enjoy it more. We even had large candy canes lining our sidewalk up to the front door! Christmas 2012 meant running away so John and I went on a cruise. For Christmas 2013, I tried to ignore the holiday until it was a few days before Christmas and John asked if I was going to put up ANY Christmas decorations. So…..I put up my Willow Tree Nativity set and a 4 foot Christmas tree and called it done. I really wasn’t sure what future holidays would be like again.
So, we moved in October of 2014, and in the surrounding of a new place with stacks of boxes remaining to be unpacked in the garage, I decided I wanted to decorate. And I have decorated like CRAZY! I had JOY pursuing the theme, the colors, ornaments, garland, etc. I decorated the mantel, the windows, the back doors, the front door, the tree, you name it! This year, I was drawn to “natural”, “organic”, neutral colors. As I sit here and type this blog posting, I think it reflects how I felt this season. Subdued, neutral to all the frantic activities that happen this time of year. There is something about the organic and course texture of the burlap, sharp points of the pine cones, the “realness” of wood, and basic twine. So, as I look at the theme this year, and it is not traditional AT ALL, I have accomplished my goal. I have transformed how I look at this holiday, there are some of the old traditions, but yet it is “new”……and I always incorporate ways to remember and honor Elizabeth, Fischer, Ben and Hayes, that even though they are no longer physically with us, and are in the presence of the Christ whom we celebrate this time of year, they are part of us and they live on in our hearts and in our love.
So to others that are reading this blog that have experienced loss of a loved one, and my other “mama” friends that are walking this path without their children, I want to encourage you that there is no right or wrong way to any of this. For me, I have come to realize that I need the holidays to be more low key, less stress, less formal and this year I have found that I have enjoyed them immensely. I am not stressed, tired, or overworked which tends to leaving me a wreck emotionally.
So, as we close 2014 and approach 2015, I continue to learn that it is about grace. Giving grace…..especially to those that are the wounded. It isn’t being selfish, or difficult. It’s just down right hard at times. Many of us are trying to make our way in a world where our brokenness is the hardest path we have walked. We are picking up the pieces and putting our lives together again….one piece at a time. And that takes time, hard work, lots of persistence, patience and grace. All the while we are hanging on to the one that holds our heart and also holds our loved ones. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t…..and so we desperately need grace…..HIS and grace from others.
Christmas or any holiday is definitely different when you experience loss. My love and appreciation for my husband, family and friends, who have let me take as much time as I needed, encouraged me and have graciously and lovingly stood by me along the way.
So, here are the 2014 Christmas decorations that were three years in the making……
I hope the infant child of grace and truth revealed himself in a real and personal way this holiday season to you and yours!
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
PS: Next blog posting? The best gift of all! Christmas babies! TWO!