This season is full of such conflicting emotions. I remember as a kid hearing that Christmastime is a really, really hard time for some people, and I didn’t understand. My childhood Christmases were magical, and I think my parents did an amazing job of balancing the fun of the season (presents, Santa, parties) with the spiritual focus of celebrating Christ’s birth. I remember specifically one year coming out of Christmas Eve service and being absolutely certain I saw Santa’s sleigh flying over the cross on top of our church. I want this for my kids too- I am absolutely pro-Santa, but I want him to always be flying over the cross on Christmas Eve. And perhaps I’m doing a decent job of that already- I’ve been talking about the nativity with Charlotte, and she knows the story, and the characters, but anyone with a beard is still “Santa- Ho Ho Ho”, so I’m letting Santa hang out by the manger as long as he wants.
As an adult, I now understand why Christmas is hard and isn’t all magical. Today, I’m less stressed (shopping is done- sigh of relief) and more sad. I’m not depressed- I’ve dealt with that and this is different- but I am sad. I’m sad for my sweet Grayson, that even though he is present for so many Christmas and family activities, he misses out. He misses out on so, so much. Grayson won’t be with us at church on Christmas Eve- he’ll never hold a candle and sing “Silent Night”. He’ll be at home asleep while we’re opening gifts Christmas Eve with Ryan’s family. We’ll never have that “ideal” Christmas morning, where all our kids run out to see what’s in their stockings and under the tree, and just like so many other things, I’m having to grieve the loss of that dream. And yet, he’s here, and I never want to take that for granted. A few weeks ago we saw his doctor who brought up his latest brain MRI. His disease has progressed- the damage to the white matter in his brain has increased since last year. Grayson’s body, his brain, is failing him, and all we can do is love him. No perfect present or ideal Christmas morning is going to change that.
We’ve had some incredible, unexpected blessings that have shown up in our mailbox and inbox, and people’s generosity humbles me with gratitude. Thank you to our friends who have shown us such love this month and put some of the magic back in Christmas.
This next week, I’m going to make every effort to enjoy this time of year- to sing “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus” with Charlotte, snuggle with Grayson, and laugh a lot while opening presents with family.
Merry Christmas everyone- I hope yours is magical.