Today I chose to write about what Christmas means to me today in comparison to what it meant to me as a little girl many years ago.
I remember many Christmas as a young girl, that gifts under the tree were sparse. My mom was single mother of six children. She worked many jobs just to keep us together as a family. She never took money from sources, other than family, she was a proud mother. She did what she could to provide for us and most importantly to keep us from being separated.
There were times when the state threatened to separate us because we had no money for food and moved a lot. We lived in downtown Indianapolis until I was in about 4th grade. There is so much more about this story, but I’ll save this for another day.
The one thing I do want to say is that Christmas to me growing up was about family and about being together. It wasn’t so much about the gifts. Now my grandmother she always made sure we had gifts under tree, especially when mom couldn’t. Christmases at my grandmothers and great-grandmother’s houses were – well they were just amazing
When I say family I mean extended family. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas family would come from all over to gather at the Wisehart house for holiday dinner and fellowship. Aunts and uncles, cousins (1st, 2nd and 3rd), grandparents and great grand parents, moms and dads (well except my dad).
We would sit around and eat so much food until we were about to burst. My great grandmother’s Butterscotch Pie was to die for. No one to this date has ever been able to make it the same way she did. I miss those days so much.
Then there was the Christmas’s during my 18 year marriage and life with my sweet Brittany. It was my new tradition. Yes, we did visit my great grandmother’s until those events stopped. Eventually it became too much for her. And after my mom died our family virtually fell apart. So we all had to create our own traditions.
So for 18 years Christmas meant getting up and watching Brittany open up her gifts and jumping for joy. When we were with her father’s family we would hear the Christmas Story from the book of Matthew in the New Testament. You see it was very important to us that Brittany new and understood the true meaning of Christmas. That it wasn’t always about the gifts – however it sure was a lot of fun.
Now I find Christmas to be one of the loneliest days of my life. The people in my life that created all those memories are gone. First my great-grandfather, then my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather, my great-grandmother and most recently my daughter. Just thinking about it makes me cry out in anguish. But then I remember….
The real meaning of Christmas. I would encourage you to read the Book of Matthew in the New Testament. It talks about the wonder of Jesus’ birth – the real reason we celebrate Christmas – it talks about his life – it provides us the way to live our lives – it speaks of His death and His resurrection.
His resurrection is the reason I keep believing that there is a reason I am here and why I keep moving forward one day at a time. Because the resurrection assures me that I will see the family that has gone on before me. The family that helped to create my Christmas memories early in my life and late in my life; I miss them so much – especially my dear sweet Brittany.
Today is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus – to remember that God so loved the world that He gave His only son – Jesus.
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and they will call Him Immanuel which means God is with us.” – Matthew 1:23 (NLT edition)
Merry Christmas my friends because even in the midst of our grief there is hope.
until next time