When Christmas is Different

Have you read Emily Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl, yet? I’m going to post about the things God showed me through it. But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about Christmas without Dad. You probably know that, in addition to writing books, Emily Freeman writes a blog, Chatting at the Sky, and that she writes for (in)courage. Just before Christmas, her contribution to (in)courage was “For when everything is different,” about grieving the loss of her father-in-law during the Christmas season. Naturally, I’ve been contemplating some of the same things this Christmas.

I’ve been thinking about how our society marks time by Christmases. Ten ornaments on our Christmas tree acknowledge a “Baby’s First Christmas.” A slightly older ornament, framing photos of two very young newlyweds, declares “First Christmas Together.” But those newlyweds look a little sad because it was also the first Christmas without Joey’s sister.

We generally don’t acknowledge “Baby’s First August 7th,” or commemorate the newlyweds’ “First March 20th Together.” So these days can, to a degree, more easily slip by when we are freshly missing someone. But Christmas is different. I would venture to guess that most Americans can remember several Christmases from their childhoods…whether good or bad, happy or disappointing. We remember this day. We think about the people in our lives. It is more challenging to let it slip by without feeling, right in the face, the loss of someone with whom we have spent many earlier Christmases.

So, we made it through a different Christmas season this year. And since Dad’s birthday is Christmas Eve, we endured two firsts without him that weekend. It was different without his, “Feliz Navita” (yes, that’s spelled right), and his “Ho, ho, ho.” It was different without his references to Santa (I could write a whole post just about Dad and Santa and me). It was different without someone who listens to my concerns, petty or grand. It was different without someone who loves me like only a parent can love a child. It was different without someone who hugs me like only a father can hug me.

Was your Christmas different this year? If not, I’ll bet you know someone whose Christmas was. And even though Christmas is over, I’m praying for everyone who had a different Christmas.

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Joey said,

    Okay, after three attempts I was able to make it through your post. Yes, different is the best term for this past Christmas, but its kind of like this life is becoming the “normal” and I really don’t care for that. Love ya.

  2. 2

    Laura said,

    I can’t think of anything to say…except I really, really hate these ‘different’ holidays…..and ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. 3

    thetruevine said,

    Hmm…maybe the word “different” is too neutral to describe these heartbreaking changes?! What say you, Joey and Laura?!

  4. 4

    lv2inspire said,

    Well said. It’s times like these it helps to focus on the good memories that there undoubtedly have been, do something special to honour (yes, that’s Aussie spelling for you) their memory and just be kind to yourself for the day.

  5. 5

    MOM said,

    It made me sad all over – again – just to read your blog. I really disliked this kind of “different.” Dad was so much to so many and has left such a hole in all of our lives. Hugs to you!!!

    Love you


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