Decorating for Chritsmas while missing a child puts the "bitter" in bittersweet. I never really understood that word until it became the only word I could find to describe this time of year for us. I love Christmas, I can't think of a sweeter reason in life to celebrate than the birth of Jesus. The bitter part comes in when I have to celebrate and decorate for it without my oldest son here.
As I try to decorate my house for the 6th time since Jackson has been in Heaven , I can't help but wonder, why is it still so hard? Why do I put myself through this? Even when I can't put my finger on my funky mood, it's always there this time of year, the Jacskson size hole in my heart and life. Every subconscious part of me screams "you are gonna have to go down memory lane when you start decorating!" And that is so hard beyond words. BUT, it's also beautiful at the same time. I get to travel back to when my marriage was new, life was so simple and we had one sweet baby boy. We had the world at our feet, just like every new family starting out.
As I go through old photos, I also notice the lack of actual "Joy" on my face in those old photos. I loved Christmas because it was a holiday that just happend to be Jesus's birthday. So, while I had my husband and a growing family , I wasn't whole, I didn't SEE Jesus. Life now is a series of crazy emotions: loneliness, JOY, sadness, thankfulness, pain, JOY, love, fear, and JOY.
While it hurts me to my core to decorate, celebrate and recall a former life, and grieve for the life I didn't get, I will decorate. I will do it with a joy and a sadness that I never knew could co exist so perfectly. I will cry from the pain of missing my Jackson and my heart will burst with the joy of thankfulness for my other children and a marriage that is 10 times stronger this Christmas than it was when I thought I had it all. Now, I SEE what I was unable to see before, I SEE the love of a savior sent to feel every emotion I feel and still choose the cross. I SEE and feel the love that Jesus has for me and I will celebrate knowing that One sweet day there will be no more tears and my family will be whole. Until then, I will press on and I will decorate!
I pray that all of us trying to survive another season without a family member can SEE that this is not how our story (or theirs) ends. Don't let the enemy steal The joy meant for you. It's ok to be bitter and hurt, but I pray that joy seeps in that it takes up way more room than the sadness. This Christmas I pray we all actively seek out the joy intended for us by the birth is