We leaped yet another hurdle in our journey last night. My husband is a high school principal, and every year we host a faculty/staff Christmas party in our home. For the last couple of years, we have co-hosted it with the junior high principal, and last year it was held at his house, because Hannah was so ill at the time. The party is simple...we eat, and then we play "Dirty Santa", which is a gift exchange where you are allowed to steal other people's gifts. Hannah loved these parties, even last year. She really enjoyed the opportunity to socialize with her teachers outside of school, and always got a kick out of seeing their silly side as they played Dirty Santa. She would look forward to it all year. We enjoyed the party last night, and had a good time as always, but her absence was apparent throughout the evening.
As Christmas approaches, many people have asked us how we are doing. I'm happy to say that we are doing remarkably well. Yes, we have some very sad moments, and times when we cry, but most of our conversations and memories make us smile. I've even wondered a couple times over the past week if there was something wrong...maybe we weren't facing reality or not grieving properly. But then, it suddenly hit me...it's God! So many of you are continuing to support us with your prayers, and some have even told me that you're specifically praying for our peace and comfort throughout this holiday season...so why should I be surprised that God is providing exactly that? I know we still have difficult days ahead, as Christmas actually arrives, along with all the family gatherings, but God has proven Himself faithful again and again, and I know He will be with us. One thing that I have learned in recent weeks is that I have to be willing to accept that peace and comfort, and not just let myself sink into despair. There is a choice involved.
Romans 12:12 tells us to "Be joyful in hope." Where does hope come from? Jesus! What a perfect verse for the Christmas season...as a matter of fact, I'm going to try to keep that verse at the forefront of my mind over the next couple of weeks as we work our way through this first Christmas without one of our girls. Thank you, Lord, for the hope of Heaven that is ours because of the gift of your Son!