Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thoughts on Christmas Eve

Last year, I sent out this email on Christmas morning...

"It is early on Christmas morning, and I have a few things on my heart that I want to share with all of you who have been so faithful to pray for our family over the last several months. No one else is up yet....the girls no longer wake us up before dawn begging to open their teenagers, they would much rather sleep in, and open presents whenever they happen to wake up. We no longer have to stay up late on Christmas Eve putting toys together...the "toys" they want now are high-tech gadgets that they have to open up and figure out how to use themselves...we're of no help to them in that department. We have always lived a few hours away from both sets of the girls' grandparents, so we have rarely spent Christmas Day at home over the years...we're usually at one or the other grandparent's house, or traveling in between on Christmas Day. Circumstances did not allow us to travel this week (platelet infusions yesterday and tomorrow in Little Rock), so we will be spending all day at home, just the four of us. And while we are praying for Hannah's healing and trusting God that our family of four will spend many more Christmases together; we are fully aware that, in His sovereignty, this could be our last. And that is not only true for our family in our present circumstances, it is true for every family who is reading this email. We do not know what the future holds for any of please, this year more than ever, enjoy the time with your family, treasure the memories you make, and be sure that you know the One whose birth we celebrate on this day."

As I wrote this email, I knew in my heart that, without a miraculous intervention from God, we were about to spend our last Christmas with Hannah. We were already beginning to see small signs that she was gradually leaving us, and less than two weeks after Christmas, she began to have some difficulty walking. Two months and one day after Christmas, God called her home.

We were given a unique gift last Christmas...the gift of awareness of our blessings. We were able to focus on our family time together, and truly appreciated every moment like never before. We took several pictures, but not too many, because Hannah really didn't like to be photographed after she lost her hair, and we tried to be sensitive to this. This is my favorite picture of her from last year...

She had just received those pretty boxes from her grandma...I plan to use them now to put some of her special things in one of these days when we go through her bedroom.

As I re-read that email from last Christmas, it brought to mind several families who have also lost children or other family members this past year. Many of them did not have the gift of time that we had with Hannah. Many of them had no idea that last Christmas would be the last one with their loved one, and my heart breaks for them.

We've received so many nice Christmas cards and encouraging notes from people this year. One of them contained a poem that helps to put all of this in perspective. If you are one of those hurting families, I hope this is a comfort to you, as it has been to us.

"My First Christmas in Heaven"

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,
with tiny lights like Heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear,
For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
But the sound of music cannot compare
With the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring,
For it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart,
But I am not so far away, we really aren't apart.
So be happy for me, dear ones, you know I hold you dear,
And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above,
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, Love is a gift more precious than pure gold,
It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love each other as the Father said to do,
For I cannot count the blessings or Love He has for you.
So have a Merry Christmas, and wipe away that tear,
Remember, I am spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear ones,
The poem had also been sent to me and brought a smile. I truly could envision Shorty and Hannah celebrating Christmas with the KING! It was not an easy Christmas, but wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. I kept busy cooking goodies to give away, and tried to concentrate on making Christmas good for someone else. I know that is what you have been doing too. Just know that I think of you often and love you all very much. One of his happiest days I can remember was the snow he and the girls enjoyed together....dee