Life is about change, but it is the continuity of the moments of life that stay the same from year to year that afford us mere humans a sense of security. Christmas is one of those moments in most people’s years that are steeped in tradition and pull us all back to the most highly emotional times of our lives, both good and bad, and is tightly wound in family.
Our Christmas this year will be far from normal, but for me that is all right, because I am just not ready to have a regular Christmas that will cause me to face the fact that there are some very special people in our family who left us this year. The first Christmas without loved ones is hard enough, but as many readers know our first son is getting married in January. Unfortunately, both him and his fiancée have lost their grandfathers this year. So, as we are planning our Christmas all of us are trying to keep things simple.
We are not putting up a tree this year. In all my 47 years I have never not had a tree. It is usually my birthday present. Our reason for this decision isn’t missing family members it is because of the impending wedding on January 5. The children who are still at home asked if we could skip it this year and after a family vote we decided it was best. What we are going to do instead is set up my very large Nativity scene as our focal point for this year’s celebration. We are hoping this will keep us focused on the reason we celebrate Christmas and help us not miss our grandpas near as much.
There are the parts of celebrating that were very special to my father-in-law, which we will make a point of doing in his memory. They are really quite easy. He absolutely lived for watching his grandchildren be happy and eat a huge Christmas dinner with all the Ukrainian trimmings. A fond memory of mine is one from many years ago when our children were babies and we were still living in the city. My father-in-law went out to buy the Christmas turkey and it was the biggest one I have ever seen. It almost didn’t fit in the oven. It was so big, my mother-in-law had to have it in the oven by 1 a.m. so we could eat it the next day. I will never forget the looks on the faces of all the grandkids when that monster bird hit the table. He didn’t like all the commercialism that has taken over Christmas either which is another reason that our decorating will centre around the Nativity this year.
With the wedding so close to Christmas we have also decided to limit gift giving. As long as all our family is together we will be happy. I came across a very special gift idea today that I would like to share. It is perfect for loved ones who might be in a life situation that they need to be reminded they are loved.
A Love Box
Small box (can be recycled)
The idea of this gift box is to place the bell inside, then wrap the box as pretty as desired topping it with the following poem:
A Gift of Love
This is a very special gift
That you can never see.
The reason it’s so special is
It’s just for you from me.
Whenever you are lonely
Or even feeling blue.
You only have to hold this gift
And know I think of you.
You never can unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied.
Just hold the box
close to your heart
It’s filled with love inside.
My son gave a Love Box to his great-grandpa for Christmas many years ago and it became his favourite present. He kept it on his headboard. When he went to the hospital it sat on his night table. When he passed away it was buried with him. This gift meant more to him than you could imagine and it is a beautiful way to lighten up a person’s life that really needs to feel they are loved.
The first one of these boxes came to me from a friend at a time of my life that I sorely needed to read this poem daily. Unfortunately, she lost her husband this year so there will be another family that needs a Love Box.
For our family the end of one generation is being met with the start of a new one. As much as our lives are changing there will be the continuity of family as our children move forward into their new lives and we attempt to accept the losses we have been dealt. From our family to yours, we wish that all of you who are also experiencing life’s losses this Christmas be surrounded in the love of your family and remember that “blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” Matt. 5:4. †