Last night as I was frantically wrapping presents I wish I could say I sat at my kitchen table full of joy. I wish I could tell you the boxes of plastic toys and the smell of newly bought books magically brought me to a place of happiness, or that the aisles of cranky Christmas shoppers I had endured and somewhat conquered to retrieve it all; had left me with a sense of contentment.
But it didn’t.
I actually sat there contemplating Christmas in the first place. After all, this season had seemed the most un-holiday like than other years. Maybe because social media has overtaken our worlds….maybe because our lack of time has lead us to overcompensate with material things, or maybe because the advancing world and commercialization of Christmas has come to its all time high.
I’m not sure.
But what I do know is that when “Deck the Halls” literally has turned in to decking everyone in the halls that gets between you and that newest Star Wars toy; maybe just maybe everyone has lost the true spirit of this season.
In fact, as I began to tear my bedroom apart in hopes of finding all of the last minute little gifts that had been tucked and hid away in every nook and cranny of it…..I came across one of my most precious gifts that had been given to me that caused me to stop dead in my tracks. A gift that caused my bitter heart to remember just what Christmas time is about in the first place.
A snippet of light brown hair and a fuzzy worn purple sleeper that signified two months……just a mere 81 days of time. Of time that I will never get back. Of time I will treasure until my very last breath. A time that had been given to me that no newest brand of toy, no amount of batteries, or no grande salted caramel latte will be able to replace.
So as I sat on my cold hardwood floor surrounded by nothing but the silence of the dead of the night and the evidence of my once was here child, I held tightly on to a purple piece of clothing, desperately trying to retrieve any amount of scent left that time has began to wash away.
I frantically tried to remember the wrinkles on those ten tiny perfect toes and the chubby baby thigh rolls that I had once stuffed in to it…….
…….and I stroked the baby soft fuzz that was once placed on the top of that head I kissed so much.
Because I had lost it too.
But last night as the pain and heartbreak of what will never be, collided with the fear of what is I was reminded of the gift that has been given to me and also to you that outweighs it all.
Christmas is not about proving what you can do and have, it is not about the late nights spent wrapping and baking as many cookies as possible.
It is not about comparison,or opinions of whether or not your family agrees with an elf on the shelf or whether to allow their children to believe in a fat man in a red suit.
To be perfectly honest it is not even about a green tree, pictures of presents stocked piled high to the ceiling, or have anything to do with YOU or me for that matter at all.
Christmas is seen in the smile on your face as you pass someone on the street. It is heard in the holiday greeting you can stop long enough to share, and in the family visits that you make the time for.
This Christmas my precious Audrey gave me a gift even in her death. She reminded me of the hope when I’ve needed it most. She showed me that my life, my story, my Christmas….is an imperfect beautiful mess. One that I don’t need to spend feeling guilty about the expensive gifts I could not afford or the elf that I forgot to move….A Christmas filled with the excitement of watching Christmas lights twinkle in my new baby’s eyes, and the mourning for a child whose stocking will forever remain empty… and the realization that every bit of that is okay.
Most importantly she reminded me about the true gift of this season. The whole reason why there is a Christmas in the first place. She reminded me of a baby, born into his own messy life. A child of God not born in the cleanest of palaces and wrapped in the richest of clothes. A baby not brought hundreds of gifts or a party fit for a king.
But a single seven pound child, born on hay,and placed in a manager.
Surrounded by nothing but the sounds of barn animals, people who loved him, and a God in control of it all.
A baby that grew in to a man whose arms now contain my most precious little girls.
That right there is the gift.
Imperfect made perfect.
Old made new.
Not just given at Christmas.
But for eternity.