I remember when this happened to me. It was Thanksgiving day in 1997 – a sunny, cold fall day in central Illinois. I was up early to prepare my family’s special breakfast before we watched Macy’s Christmas parade. I look forward to it all year-long. The house was full of cheerful anticipation as tasty aromas drifted in through the house.
Suddenly the phone rang. My world was about to come crashing down.
“Hello?” I answered, expecting one of our parents wishing us a happy day, but it was rather early for them to call.
“Dena, honey,” I heard my dad’s quivering, emotional sounding voice on the other end of the hard, plastic receiver. My stomach began to sink. Something’s wrong.
My mom was doing so much better after an eight month-long illness. She was finally going home today. I couldn’t wait to talk with her for the first time in months. It was going to be a wonderful day.
“I’m so sorry to have to tell you this, but I just got a call from the nursing facility and it’s about your mom . . . honey, she passed away early this morning while they were helping her get dressed.” Nooooo!!!!
Thanksgiving has never been quite the same. Her visitation would be on my birthday a few days later. I didn’t want to celebrate anything that year. Thanksgiving? My birthday? Christmas? Who cares.
Have you had a similar experience with one of your children? You’ve been so hurt, wounded, rejected, shocked, and disappointed that now you could care less about the holidays. There will be no Norman Rockwell Christmas for you.
When you’re in emotional pain the thought of celebrating sounds awful. Cruel. Impossible. The holidays are coming upon us quickly now. Can a parent in pain celebrate?
Yes. You can.
I did seventeen years ago when my heart was so broken. How?
I focused on the real meaning of Christmas. What is that to you?
Wake up and realize you won’t be experiencing a picture-perfect scene like the one here with my blog. Many of us know this all too well. It’s no surprise.
You probably stopped looking for joy and satisfaction from gifts a long time ago.
You quit seeking it in how much you decorate or bake or shop. There’s not enough tinsel to hang on your tree or colorful lights to fill the emptiness in your heart. You can’t bake enough cookies or spend enough money to take away the ache in your gut. No credit card has a limit high enough to buy what you need. The peace you long for can’t be found under your tree or in a pretty gift bag.
For me, the real meaning is found in the Son of God, the Prince of Peace who gives me his peace; the Wonderful Counselor who guides and comforts me with his counsel; the Lamb of God who came for me, knowing what it would mean, yet he loved me that much.
I chose to focus there back in 1997 and I still choose to focus there now.
Where will you focus this holiday season? If you’d like more information on about the true meaning of Christmas, please message me.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life ( John 3:16).”
“And the angel said (to the shepherds), ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).”