25 Dec

Merry Christmas!

Tonight as I prepare for sleep, I reflect on the past 24 hours. We met our family at church last night for the Christmas Eve family service. As we sat in the sanctuary listening to the music and the children\’s program, I looked down the pew which was filled with our family members. Hillary and Jeff were there with their two children, Morgan and Gracelyn; and Emily and Matt were there with Devin and Ella celebrating their first Christmas Eve as a married family. Matt\’s parents joined us, which was an honor. I sat next to Chuck looking down the row and my eyes filled with tears as I looked for Paul\’s red hair. I still wait and watch for him to come join us. I think we all do. We sang \”Joy to the World\” and I held Ella in my arms listening to her sweet voice. She knows the words and sings beautifully. Uncle Paul would love these little ones, I know.

During the service, my heart ached thinking about Mama spending her first Christmas in 61 years without her soul mate, my Daddy. I thought about our extended family as we all grieve for our Daddy and Grandpa . I miss him, but celebrate with peace in my heart that after a wonderful life of 88 years, he is resting in the arms of God. I believe that he is celebrating Christmas with Paul and that gives great comfort. But still I look for my son and miss him.

I had a good cry after church and finished the preparations for our Christmas morning traditions…opening the brightly wrapped stockings and gifts, sipping on coffee and juice, listening to the chatter and laughter of children, eating the family brunch in the dining room filled with the scents of warm baked bread and spicy sausage casserole. (This morning we even had a brief visit from Santa who happened to be in the neighborhood as prepared to fly back to the North Pole!) The house was warm and cozy and Christmas music played on the \”yule log\” channel. My heart overflowed with gratitude for the blessings we share. I found myself smiling as I felt Paul\’s presence in the room with us.

We talked on the phone to friends and family, sharing the gift stories and laughing at the antics of our grandchildren. Later when the rest of the family went to celebrate with others in their families, Chuck and I went to eat Christmas dinner with our next door neighbors, who have included us in their dinner celebration for the last several years. Paul would join us and we would share their Christmas dinner and than return home when our married families came back for the evening. This is a tradition which we love and Paul enjoyed.

I pray that your holidays are filled with love and peace…and some time for rest. Now that the gifts have been wrapped and exchanged, I wish for some time for reflection, to make time to bask in the glory of Christ\’s birth.

The words of the Christmas song by Jewel, \”The Face of Love\” speak to my heart, especially this year. May God bless you. Thank you for your continued love and prayers. We are blessed!

Until tonight
My heart was just half full
I\’d never known the fruit which fed the soul
But now I see what may put to rest my longing
For I have seen, the face of love
The grace of God, the face of love
In silence I feared my heart
Would remain words unheard
Inside a separateness of skin
But now I know that the skin just veils the soul
For I have seen, the face of love
The grace of God, the face of love
So take my hand and knowing
With it I also give my heart
Wanting never to be separate again
Let eternity begin
If you were flame
I\’d allow myself to be consumed completely
Were you wind I would wish you pass through me
But now I know that the skin just veils the soul
For I have seen, the face of love
The grace of God, the face of love

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