In my household, Christmas is a big deal. Especially Christmas Eve.
My grandmother would be cooking and baking delicious foods that you could only taste through smell. My mother and aunt would lock themselves in a room to wrap gifts because procrastination. I sit in the basement watching TV and bubbling with excitement for the next morning. My cousins would come from out of state. Hide and seek. Tag. Wrestling. Being told to stop and sit down. We had to pass the time somehow. Right?
The tree is decorated to the t. My grandmother has Christmas decorations for days!! Thus, there are a plethora of ornaments (and tinsel) to choose from. Colorful lights wrap the tree, and a star on top to finish the look. Granddaddy has the house looking festive with vibrant lights strung across the house, a yard scene, and a star on the room to finish the look. In the spirit of completely freezing, I had to accompany him for the task. Family, food, and fun. All in all, Christmas is awesome!
Until last year.
No aromas of dressing, turkey, ham, and sweet potato pie in the house. No last minute gift wrapping. No lights illuminating our yard in the night. The tree was decorated, but it wasn’t as jovial as usual. No elation for the next days events. For the first time in my life, I was fretful on Christmas.
Last year, my grandmother was not in the best of health. So, we were more concerned with her well-being than the brightness and love that Christmas brings. She embodied the Christmas spirit. The love of Christ was displayed through her hugs, her words, her warmth, the gifts she gave, and the food she made. Our family fed off of her infectious energy. That energy was focused on recovery, and the family was concerned.
Christmas was not Christmas.
I found myself fighting anger because my grandmother was sick. I wanted to get back to normal life where she was in good health. I wanted my family to be at home enjoying each other’s laughter and love. That is what I wanted, but we don’t always get what we want. Instead, Christmas was filled with uneasiness, uncertainty, concern, and burdens. I can say I’ve been blessed because my Christmases had never been like this before.
With all of the negative feelings, we made it through Christmas. Still a family. Still laughing. Still loving. However, we had a lot more on our minds. This wasn’t the norm.
My grandmother passed on January 23, 2015. It’s almost been a year since she’s been gone, and now we are entering the phases of firsts. Her birthday. Thanksgiving. Days that are special to our family. All of these days are the first time she was not here to join us.
Then, there is Christmas.
This Christmas is going to be markedly different. She is not here for our usual Christmas routine. As a family, we have to cope with that fact. We all have changed in different ways. It’s been a long year, and there was a small fear that Christmas was forever changed. Where is the excitement? The vigor for spending time with family? Does the Christmas spirit in the Henderson household die?
Today is Christmas Eve. I’m sitting writing a blog. My grandfather is watching TV, and my mom is in the kitchen. Aromas of fresh lemon bread, German chocolate, and pound cake fill the house. As her custom, music fills the house from my mom’s laptop. She, myself, and my cousin are singing various songs. There is joy here. The tree is elegantly decorated with ornaments and bright lights. It sits in its regular spot displaying beauty. I managed to put up the lights on the house. No yard scene this year though. I’m not getting on the roof. Not this year anyways. However, the house is adorned enough to light up the sky. I was just informed I would be doing the last minute gift wrapping. Oh joy… -__-
The question is… Will the Christmas spirit die in the Henderson household? The answer is…..
No. The Christmas spirit has not died.
It is very much alive within us. My grandmother’s legacy is love of Jesus Christ and family. These things did not die when she went to glory. They only came alive in us more. We have to pick up where she left off, and she would not allow grief to make her mope around.
So, let us bake, wrap, decorate, live, laugh, love, and be family. After all, we are celebrating the birth of Christ. Christmas did not die.
This is the rebirth.