We often say Merry Christmas as a jovial send off after greeting someone around this Advent season. Some people will respond back with the same, or they may say “Happy Holidays”, “Feliz Navidad”, “Happy Hanukkah” “Happy Xmas” and the like. The one that’s always truly puzzled me is the last one…”Happy Xmas.” To me that’s like saying “Happy Nothingness.” What exactly is the point of that? It seems that it used to be more popular to say that phrase when I was growing up, and when I would be greeted this way, I always had to fight the urge not to laugh out loud…but would often politely say in return “Merry Christmas.” I’m such a rebel I know. The funny thing is when did it become so offensive to say this? If you don’t believe that Jesus came to this world as a defenseless baby, and was born in a barn, then was destined to be nailed to cross, and become the King of Kings for all time, that’s ok…I guess… That’s your business. If I want to celebrate this season this way, do I really pose a viable threat to your holiday season? Truly, I don’t think I have that kinda power, but thank you for the encouragement. Perhaps I’m greater than I give myself credit for, but then perhaps not!
This season is really about hope, although I do think that many of us have forgotten that. Of course we know innately that we shouldn’t get caught up in the commercialism, and we should concentrate on our family and our loved ones. It is a time to value the people that we love, and give thanks and appreciation for all that we have. We know that there are many in our world who have so little, and daily have empty stomachs. This should bother us. We can help, and we should. It is also a time when we reflect and remember those dear souls who have left this earth, and whom we mourn their loss with every ounce of our being. I have found that there is no greater feeling of emptiness and loneliness than to visit a graveyard when it’s covered with a fresh blanket of snow, and search out the place where your daughter lays. Brutal is just an understatement. My mind still cannot comprehend this great loss, and as I sat on a bench nearby and tried to ponder this, my eyes were drawn to the majestic vision of Longs Peak to the west, standing proud, and lifting its peaks up to the heavens. It is covered with snow, but it is a statue to the earth below. It seems to say, “I am here, I will protect her.” I was caught offguard with the thought…”until the mountains fall into the sea, and the sea dries up…..I am here”. I know there are many who remember their loved ones this time of year….but this is my first….our first..without her.
Last year was such a joyous one. My sons are always so extravagant in their gift giving, and seem to take such specific thought with what each of us would appreciate. This is such an act of love, and my heart bursts in my chest when I think of this. Logan bought Bianca a “fart gun” from the movie, “Despicable Me.” She absolutely loved it, as did we all. When I showed it to my Mother later on that year, she just doubled over with laughter, because let’s face it…farts are funny…even fake ones. We always marveled that Bianca knew the difference between the two. If you farted by her bedside she would erupt into laughter, which made you laugh too…Farts are good…they are necessary, and they put fun in your day…but enough about them now..I’m getting obsessed. Logan also purchased the robot “Wallee” from the Disney movie. She adored that too. If I recall correctly Zach gave her a talking Mickey Mouse with the frozen snowman from “Frozen” whose name presently eludes me. She got new DVDs, and was well spoiled and loved. My boys would never allow any presents to be opened until we retrieved her from her bed, and wheeled her out to join us in our festive family gathering…this is family, this love….”nobody gets left behind.” I remember this now with such a sense of awe. Our day would usually be about a big yummy turkey or ham dinner, complete with all of the fixings. Often a bunch of the guys would play football in the snow, and in some recent years, when it was milder, would have a competitive game of rollerblade hockey on the driveway. We would have a movie marathon with the “X Files”, “Lord of The Rings,” “Indiana Jones,” and the like. The kids, the night before Christmas, would grab sleeping bags, their sister in the middle, and bunk down on the floor right beside the tree, and wait for Christmas morn to arrive, so they could dive into their presents……these memories are just priceless to me.
We are more somber this season, and understandably so… I decorated a tree with just a single angel on top..our Bianca angel. Our messenger. If angel means messenger then we know surely that she was ours. I often think of this verse found somewhere in the bible…” Some of you have entertained angels unaware….” I love this concept… It comforts me. Life has changed for this family. We are reminded again as we greet this birth celebration of our Lord, that we have a daughter who is celebrating every day with her mighty King of Kings. I find myself daydreaming on whether she sits on his knee, and they discuss life things. I fantasize about what she would say about our family. Did we do right by her? I know in all of our hearts that we certainly tried. Her Christmas is being spent with the “Christ”, the risen one. She no longer has to picture what his eyes look like, she can gaze deep into their depths, and she can know the untold wonders of our universe. This is friggin fantastic. She can hold his hands, she can see his scars imprinted by the nails, maybe see the scar in his side, and on his feet, and she now knows a love so fantastic, so divine, that she could never possibly want to return to this earth to be with us. Some day we shall be reunited with her…she will be there to greet us. Yes…I believe this with ever ounce of my being. I long for it…. Whenever the sun shines, I am reminded that Jesus is here…He is with me…I am not alone.
We remember..we always will…I often have heard the phrase, ” you have to find your new normal.” I agree..I guess..I hadn’t much choice in the matter. I can choose to live in my past, and wish for the previous moments that are no longer, or I can move forward, and live each day in a way that would be honoring to my girl. In days gone by, we would remark, especially my sons and I, that she made us try harder, value the fact that we could walk, run, and do many things often that are taken for granted by us able bodied folks. She pushed us, often times far beyond our limits. Do we regret that….NO WAY…except now we must find other reasons to inspire us, and in that way, we are somewhat lost. Iv’e been told that this is normal….this is our present reality.
“Life is in your hands.
You can select joy if you want to
Or you can find despair everywhere you look.”
I have quoted Helen Keller before, because she is one of my heroines..how could she not be?…..
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” -Helen Keller
Let me not stare for too long at the “closed door” but remember it with reverence, love, and great joy. It is part of my past, it has broken my heart to say farewell, and until we meet again to this captivating little girl. You have changed me sweet Bianca, you have made my capacity to love more, and empathize better than I ever had imagined. Like the psalmist says…”you have filled my heart with greater joy.” Psalm 4:7… And so you have…my beloved one…until then…