I dedicate this to anyone who has lost a loved one and has to face Christmas without them this year.
Memories of my dad at Christmas are vivid in my mind this year. He’s been with Jesus over 12 years now, but it seems like just yesterday he was carving the Christmas turkey. I was sharing with my dear friend, who is facing quite a different Christmas this year due to a loved one with a serious illness, that when I think of Christmases past I think of how my dad would come alive (even more than usual) and turn into a little kid at Christmas.
I remember dad’s excitement when he would walk through the kitchen door on Christmas Eve with Grandma Lola’s tamales in hand and shout “time to eat”. I recall how Daddy was always a last minute-shopper, but it was always so exciting for me when he would walk through the door, glance our way with his megawatt smile and say “don’t peek”. He had bundles of bags in his hands and would head to the bedroom to safely hide them so my mom could wrap them (at least I think she would wrap them). I remember him being especially affectionate with my mom during Christmastime and more playful with us.
I will never forget the hours we spent watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” (his favorite) and “Christmas Story”. Or the Christmas mornings when we would all get dressed up for church and take a family photo in front of the Christmas tree.
I get teary-eyed because I remember one Christmas when dad set up the video camera in the wee hours of the morning on the dining room table focused on the Christmas tree to capture us kids opening our presents. He was loving every moment of it. He then videotaped my mom preparing the turkey, which she was not happy about. To this day, I have no idea what happened to that videotape (this was back in the VHS days) and my heart aches wishing I could watch the video and hear his playful voice again.
I’m sure not every Christmas was all smiles and sugarplums, but those are the wonderful memories that stick with me.
These days Christmas just isn’t the same without the little kid. I love my family, I love our traditions, and I absolutely love the Reason for the Season, my Lord Jesus, but it’s just a little bit bittersweet because we’re all missing daddy. What keeps me going, though, and gives me hope is picturing daddy sitting up there in Heaven having a cup of coffee with the Lord as he looks down on his family with his megawatt smile and says “thank you Jesus for watching over them and never leaving them.”
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
I would love to hear your memories of your loved one(s) who is no longer with you at Christmas. Also, please visit my dad’s “In Remembrance” page if you have the time.