This year, I felt a little melancholy while putting up my Christmas tree and decorations and I couldn’t put my finger on the exact reason. It was my first Christmas being retired, which meant that I didn’t have to stress out trying to get everything up in one day over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I could take the entire week to get every piece just right. However, I found that I didn’t like my house being messy for an entire week, so next year I’m going to shoot for a two-day setup. Was the slower pace causing my blueness though? No, it was something else.
We had recently decided to move our family get-together from Christmas day to December 26. The reason being that my daughter who lives in Texas let us know they wanted to start having Christmas morning at their home now that her two boys were getting older.
I get it. I’m in no way upset because I was the same way when my children were little. My dad lived in Kentucky and we would go up there every year for Christmas Eve and then drive back to Tennessee late that night so we could all be home as a family for Christmas morning. I still remember those special times. We’d be exhausted from the late-night travel and then stayed up half the night putting some Santa toys together. Of course, the kids were awake as soon or before the sun came up on Christmas morning and my husband and I would drag ourselves out of bed to watch the children gleefully unwrap each of their gifts. We loved every minute of seeing the happiness on their faces and their excitement over their presents.
When Lindsay gave us the news this year, we talked about having the rest of the family over on Christmas day as usual and then having Christmas with them on another day since they would be staying the week, but finally decided it made more sense to just celebrate with the entire family on the 26th.
I’m fine with that decision because it’s more fun when everyone is there, but it serves as a reminder that as each of my children’s family grows, our original family is less important. It’s the way God designed it, but letting go is still a little painful.
If you’re retired or have children who are older, you know exactly what that’s like. You’ve, no doubt, experienced many letting-go situations along life’s pathway. After all, life itself is a process of letting go. It starts with the birth of our children. While there is nothing more precious or exciting than bringing a fresh, new, sweet smelling child into our home, I found that I missed feeling them kicking around inside of me once they were born. The first attachment had been severed and life was just beginning.
Then there’s that special time of nursing and cuddling. But in no time were working to wean them to a bottle and eventually to food because they are growing and nursing is exhausting. Again, we are sad because they no longer need us in this capacity. There is always that final time and we miss those cuddles.
Before we know it, it’s off to school and then to drive a car and eventually to college from which they may or may not come back home. And while we wouldn’t have it any other way, it still makes us sad. It’s funny how we can be glad and sad at the same time.
Life on earth is a series of letting go situations because this is not our permanent home. We are created for eternity and are just passing through this world. When we have those babies that we love and cherish so much, we’re just replacing ourself. We teach them and train them in every way how to live because one day we will no longer be there for them and they will need to know how to carry on.
I’ve been very blessed as this will be my 70th Christmas. They all have been different, starting out with my childhood Christmas’ at home where the fragrance from a live cedar tree that my father cut down each year and brought home filled our house. Then the excitement of my husband and I getting our own tree in our apartment when we were first married. Though the decorations were sparse, we were no less proud! A few years later we were able to purchase Baby’s first ornament for our tree. From there each Christmas grew larger as more children were added, more ornaments adorned the tree and the gifts around it multiplied.
Then one by one each child began to leave to start their own Christmas memories with their children. This Christmas marks the final child to do that. Sure, we’ll still get together after they each have their own Christmas at their homes and we’ll have a blast. And, frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because that’s the way it’s suppose to be.
This Christmas day may be a bit of a downer as my husband and I patiently wait one extra day for the sights, sounds, smells, and energy of our four children, their spouses and nine grandchildren to fill our home. But we will be thankful. Grateful that we’re all still here and able to be together for one more crazy Christmas. Not every family can say that. I personally know of families that will celebrate this Christmas for the first time without a beloved spouse, mother or father. My heart goes out to them.
Christmas is a Season
I love that we take the entire month of December to prepare and celebrate Christmas with the decorating, parties and food. After all, without Christmas we’d all be hopelessly lost in our sins. So, in the end, it doesn’t matter if it’s December 25th, 26th, or any other day of the month, the blessing is that we all still get to participate in the most joyous season of the year with those we love one more time!
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.Matthew 1:21