Between December 23rd & 31st, we fit 8 family Christmases in! When you each have family close by – and large families – this is how the holidays go. The line-up went down like this:
1) Mahedy Family Christmas Eve-Eve Party | 2) White Family Christmas Eve | 3) Christmas Morning at Adam’s Parents | 4) Christmas Lunch at Grandma Mahedy’s | 5) Christmas Dinner at Grandma Shafer’s | 6) Our little family Christmas at home | 7) The Night after Christmas at my Mom’s | 8) Hunter Family Christmas on New Year’s Eve Day
We had our 1st Christmas Eve Service at Cottage Grove Church. My mom & grandma joined me at the service, and we lined up in the first row pew on the right, Adam & the music team leading us in Christmas carols & worship. Green wreaths hung on the stained glass windows, as we reflected on the beauty of Christ’s arrival as a baby and sang O Holy Night by candlelight.
Zion celebrated his 2nd Christmas, and scored his 1st toothbrush. (Practical gifts, for the win! Don’t worry, he got plenty of wonderful toys, too.) He also met Santa for the first time at the Mahedy Christmas party. He was unimpressed and a little bit alarmed by the encounter.
This Christmas felt unlike those before it – the difference of not being in our own home, foregoing our usual Christmas decorations, and the largest and most obvious void of my dad being gone. My mom was also sick on Christmas Day, so she wasn’t able to join in on the day-of celebrations. The season felt covered in an air of absence. Strange and sad amongst the joy of the holiday. We have many tangible blessings; a close-knit family, a place to be during the holidays, a son whom brings laughter and love we didn’t know to be possible.
But I am learning that joy doesn’t only rely on the tangible. And that Joy isn’t synonymous with happiness. Instead true joy constructs our perspective, one that is built on Christ’s promises. The promise is this: we hope in and for an eternity with Jesus. One day, an air of absence will be no longer. We will trade this missing for His complete and found joy, as we are reunited with our loved ones and meet Jesus face-to-face. I can’t wait for that reality to become the tangible one.