Two years ago, December nearly broke me.
It was Little One’s first Christmas, and he was not spending it with me.
I found out later that he actually spent his first Christmas in the hospital… and I honestly think it was the gracious provision of God that I didn’t know that at the time. I’m not sure I could have handled it.
It was also my Mamaw’s last Christmas.
This, of course, we didn’t technically know at the time either.
But I think our hearts did.
Of course, my beautiful daughter deserved everything I could muster up for her.
And I tried.
Wrapping gifts half-heartedly at the last second, I walked through all the motions. I did all the things.
All the while missing one that I loved so hard it physically ached.
Hopes and expectations rising and falling with every phone call that cold, dark month.
Such a long darkness, that December
This year, both of my babies are home.
Home forever, snuggled into bed in their Christmas jammies.
My Mamaw is in heaven.
Also, I guess, home forever.
And I feel the happiest I ever remember feeling in my whole life.
No, things are not perfect. My job is not super fulfilling at the moment. I lock horns with my big girl, so much like me. Little One is loud and wild and leaves a trail of random objects in his wake all the time.
But my babies are home.
You guys, my babies are home and I cannot help but smile. And decorate. And buy all the things. And wrap tidy piles of presents while humming Christmas tunes.
I’ve never much felt festive at Christmastime.
Until I did.
Life’s like that, I think.
Even for those of us who love Jesus.
There are Decembers that will nearly break us and ones that make us wonder how in the world we ended up with everything we want. Every. Single. Thing.
Let’s be gentle with the ones who struggle to go through the motions, whose hearts ache so hard that they physically hurt. Because they are us.
And let’s be gentle with the ones buying all the things and doing all the things and feeling all the festiveness. Because they, too, are us.
Let’s link arms and light candles and hold space for the ache and the celebration, the grief and the joy, the sobs and the festivity.
Because we’ve been both places and we will again.
Because life’s like that.