The older I get, the more this holiday means to me. I've been pondering it of late...
The truth is, I am thankful. There are a good many things that I feel thankful for: a husband who loves me, a lively and adorable little son, nine happy years with Ellie, and more family and friends than one woman could ever deserve. There are also things that I don't feel thankful for in my heart, but I choose to give thanks for anyway. The "give" part is, after all, a verb. And so I give thanks to God for my heartaches in life. The losses of my dad and my daughter. The uncertainty of the future, both physically and financially. While this thankfulness does not come from a lighthearted, happy place, it does bring with it a deep and abiding peace. A peace that says that I have a God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. A God who is good. A God who has promised that someday He will wipe every tear from our eyes.
The other truth is, I am sad. The closer the "holiday season" comes, and the colder the weather gets, the more I am bombarded by memories of Ellie. The memories are coming faster and clearer than ever before. Emotionally speaking, I like to put things in a box up on a high shelf. The kind of shelf that you have to climb onto a ladder to reach. When I am good and ready to, I will climb that ladder, take down the box and carefully look through the memories that it contains. Honestly, I have a number of such boxes. Some are covered in cobwebs from lying undisturbed for too many years. But there is this stubborn little box that keeps falling off the top shelf and hitting me in the head. Precious memories are scattered around the floor, demanding attention as I frantically try to stuff them back into the box.
Today I've decided not to put those memories back in the box. Today I will savor them and cry over them. Tomorrow I will make new ones, but today I look back and choose to feel the sadness and the joy. And I will choose to give thanks through the tears.
The song "Wintersong" by Sarah McLachlan fits John's and my mood today as we reminisce. (Click on Pop-out player)
Other highlights from around this time last year:
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" Luke 1:46-47