This year isn’t a good year for me. I’m feeling the holes left by the missing people in my life, and it hurts. Add to that the fact that my Grandpa-in-law isn’t expected to live through the weekend, and it turned into an I-don’t-feel-like-Christmas.
I decided to shoot some pictures of our Christmas tree, because I’ve seen so many neat ornament photos lately, and I thought I would share them with you, along with some thoughts on the holes.
I have a set of brass ornaments hanging on our tree which my Mom & Dad had made when I was little.
We had a family ornament, seen here, and one for each family member. They are the only ornaments that I insist on hanging up myself. They hold precious memories of years gone by.
Cindy was my younger sister.
Bubbly and energetic, and genius-IQ smart, she was my closest friend through many military transfers. I was 11 when she was taken from us, killed at the age of 9 by a drunk driver. The green monster-ish “ornament” here is—if I recall correctly—The Grinch.
Her name is written on the back, in red felt marker all childish and large. I have protected this Grinch, green and papery, faded and now nearly 30 years old, the only thing I have that she made with her own hands.
Betty was my Mom, whose battle with cancer was amazing, painful, and inspiring to me.
She was 44 when it took her. She fought, oh how she fought, but we cannot fight the Lord and His timing. I was five months pregnant with J. This is perhaps the most gaping hole.
I can still feel it, ragged and dull, soft now but always there.
This Christmas has brought it back into sharpness, feeling her not here now more with my own teens to raise and feeling like I need my Mom so much and she isn’t here. 17 years this February, and I am left to glean wisdom from other older women, women I love and look up to as mothers in Christ, but still not my Mom.
The Lord knew that we would have holes.
He knew that our lives and our holidays would not always be perfect. That we would not always strive for godliness and holiness as much as we sometimes strive to just get through. That in these times my faith would be the only thing that carries me through, when my holey-ness pushes aside my desire for His holiness.
And yet He fits inside of the holes.
Each one is perfectly filled by Him, as my substitute in death, taking the punishment I deserved, also my substitute for Life. The One reminding me that each day is precious, each “I love you” and smile, and that Life is what we must seek out when we feel we are all holey and dark and sad.
I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Deuteronomy 30:19 MSG
Christmas isn’t always fun for everyone. This year, I am one of those. I am feeling the weight of recent fractures within my family, the holes of loved ones passed on, and one who is most likely going to the Lord this very weekend. Jesus will be my Sufficiency, my Hope and my Shelter. If this Christmas is a difficult one for you, I pray that He is these for you as well.