Monday, December 6, 2010

A Timely Gift

Usually I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of year. We cut down a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and the house gets completely Christmased by the end of the day after Thanksgiving. Last year when Lydia was here was no exception. Difficult as it was, I wanted to fully enjoy the Christmas season with our little girl.

This year has been different. I've listened to no Christmas music, cut down no Christmas tree and decorated nothing. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I've been cursing at my television when cute family Christmas commercials come on and staring down anyone seeming remotely jolly about the Christmas season. But in the past couple days, the Christmasy feeling has been sneaking up on me. I start to think, "Well, maybe we'll get a tree this year and put up a few decorations" and then I start to get excited because I love the way our house looks when it's decorated. Then, as soon as I start to get a little happy, there's a catch in my throat. I don't want to celebrate this year without our girl. But then I do. But also I don't.

Today, we bit the bullet. We were out and about and decided to get a Christmas tree - just a small one that would require no re-arranging of the living room. It was simple, quick and easy. We got it home, got it set up and got the lights on it. I put up a few other decorations here and there and then got ready to do ornaments.

I wasn't looking forward to this. Tree decorating has always been a big thing for me. When I was growing up, it was a family event as we'd take out ornaments from years gone by...some really ugly ones we'd made, some with favorite cartoon characters. It's one of those traditions I'd always looked forward to doing with our children. Lydia, in the one Christmas she spent with us, managed to accrue several (I think six) ornaments. She should be here to put them up. The angry and sad was welling up, but decorating the tree was something I needed to do for myself, so I was going to do it.

Then, the doorbell rang. It was the mailman. He only rings the bell if there's something a little too big for the mailbox. There was a package for us. It was from the mother of a former student of mine. Inside was this beautiful thing.

It's a handmade, quilted ornament made from a pair of ladybug pajamas. These were some of our very favorite jammies that Lydia wore. Her friend Molly had a pair too.

I promptly burst into tears. Besides it being an incredibly sweet gesture and overwhelmingly thoughtful gift, it was something else altogether. Nothing could ever make Christmas without our girl OK. But this ornament, is a reminder to me. Despite my struggle to trust and follow Him now, the Savior of the world who came to die so I could live, He is still with me. He still sees me. He still loves me.


  1. Dear Jen,

    I wrote a comment, and my computer crashed. I am not sure if you got it.

    This is your first Christmas without your Angel Lydia. It is going to hurt.


  2. I burst into tears reading that. What a thoughtful gift. Yet it stings I know. I hung my girls' stockings and well, you know how I feel.

    Did you like your tea?

  3. I think that is the most beautiful tree you will ever have for ANY Christmas past or present... because it stands as a sacrifice of praise declaring, "although my heart is breaking because my baby is not here, there is a baby that I'm still going to celebrate." And because that Savior was born, Lydia can now celebrate this Christmas with a deeper understanding than any of us can this year.

    I can't imagine what Christmas is like in heaven. Do you think every day is like Christmas up there? There definitely have to be Christmas carols at Good King Wenceslas. ;o)

    And by the way...that picture of our girls together makes me really really really happy :o)

  4. Wow. The most amazing things are the littlest things.