The Christmas I didn’t feel like celebrating
December had just arrived when I got the call that Grandma was gravely ill. I knew this day would come—for she was now in her 90’s, but nothing would ever replace the sound of her voice, the hard work of her hands, or the faith she expressed in her words.
I felt defeated and somehow sensed I was losing more than my grandma, I would be losing someone who had known me from my birth and helped me see things I sometimes missed.
The holiday spirit might have been happening around me, but it didn’t arrive in my heart. The carols were playing but I didn’t hear the music. The twinkling lights were strung everywhere I looked, but I couldn’t bring myself to open up the boxes of decorations for my own home. I didn’t feel like celebrating. It wasn’t the same and I didn’t want to pretend that it was.
Just 10 days before Christmas she passed on. Her journey here was over. When I considered her life and all that she had seen, she had to have been tired and ready to go Home. Her wish was to be buried next to Grandpa in their beloved Hawaii. I made the arrangements. Visiting paradise at Christmas, without any joy for the journey.
Hawaii greeted my family with holiday décor well beyond the scope of Macy’s imagination. I wasn’t moved by its splendor, nor did the incessant Christmas music touch me. It was the season to be jolly and I wanted it all to go away. At Grandma's grave I said goodbye and we flew back late Christmas Eve.
Arriving home Christmas morning, I opened the door and finally had my wish. There were no decorations, no tree, and no presents to be seen. No Christmas tunes played. Silence. It was as bleak as I felt. And then, I sensed Grandma.
I closed my eyes and stood still, listening with my heart. I thought about all of Grandma’s Christmas celebrations that she’d had, regardless of crop failure or finances or feelings. I had chosen to take the spirit of Christmas away from my family and me. I sensed Grandma telling me that Christmas should never be about my feelings. It's about our Savior. Even though there may be seasons of sadness, or poverty, or pain, the light should always shine upon that miraculous Bethlehem Birth.
It may have been a little late to decorate now, but I could light up my heart and give cheer to the family who had gathered together to celebrate the real reason for Christmas. I whispered to Grandma, that no matter what might happen in my journey ahead, I would always remember to honor His birth. I could sense that she was smiling.