December has always been the pinnacle of our year. Laughter and love, surprises and wonder, all things joyful, Jesus’s birth and nativity scenes, Christmas cookies, Christmas movies, Christmas plays and Christmas concerts, decorations, lights, and snowflakes, presents, gift wrap, bows, and ribbons…
But, it’s different now. Christmas feels odd, awry, askew, like a painting on the wall that hangs crooked and can’t be straightened. Except, it’s not the painting. The wall is askew. The house is askew. The whole world is askew, and that’s why the painting can’t be straightened.
It’s a peculiar thing to know holidays will never be the same again. I cling to traditions that have always made us happy, but which feel sort of hollow now. I fight to accept it and find new things to do, and then I feel guilty for letting old traditions go. Sometimes it feels like a lose-lose. But I keep fighting for normalcy, fighting to straighten the painting, straighten the walls, the house, the world. “I will enjoy Christmas,” I shout defiantly! But, first, give me a moment to grieve for holidays gone awry.
Some people give up celebrating holidays after the death of a loved one, and others continue holiday routines because they simply must. I’m somewhere in between. One thing I know, I will always maintain hope, faith, and trust in God, even in the midst of my grieving. That is my anthem and my mantra. I apply it to everything every day. I thrive on defying despair, and I never relinquish hope. If I can’t straighten the painting, I’ll paint a lighthouse on the slope. And, decorate it with Christmas lights.