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I went to our church’s annual Christmas program and had a wonderful time.  Every year they do something a little different.  This year they had a few people from the choir and orchestra tell of past Christmases that they had enjoyed. It made me stop and think about my own Christmas memories. I seemingly have a VERY bad memory. I have had 40 Christmases so far. I can only remember 2 of them. Wow, that is pathetic. I guess I need to up my Omega 3 intake.  ;-)

The first Christmas I remembered is when I was eight years old. On Christmas Eve that year my oldest brother Jim, his wife Linda, and their little baby Becca came for Christmas.  Jim was a wonderful older brother to me.  He used to call me Lena Horn…funny guy. That night he and Linda had bought me a Connect Four game.  My younger sister Flossie and I played it non-stop after I opened it.  We had a blast that night.  After a fun-filled evening Jim, Linda, and Becca gathered their things and got ready to go home.  Everyone headed outside to wave good-bye. Flossie and I however decided to stay in and play our new game. My dad stepped back in the house and said, “You two get out here and say good-bye. You never know if this might be the last time you see your brother.” I was a tad peeved that I had to go outside, but I was soon hugging and kissing and waving along with the rest of the family.  Little did my dad know that he was being quite prophetic in that moment. The next day…Christmas…the phone rang.  I answered it and was surprised to hear one of Linda’s family members on the phone asking to talk to one of my parents. Jim had been accidentally shot that day in a hunting accident.  He died on the way to the hospital. This was a VERY difficult time for my family. None of us wanted to go on. We all slept together in the living room for many weeks.  No one wanted to be alone. I remember going to sleep listening to my family sniffle and cry. We had a few animals at the time and my dad and I often did chores together.  We would walk back to the house from the barn hand in hand. Usually half way back dad would turn to me and say, “Just think Hannah…we are one day closer to seeing Jim.” It was such a comfort to think about that. Christmas has never been the same since.

The second Christmas I remember is the year I was pregnant with Uriah. I was due on the 27th of December. My doctor had told me she would induce me 3 weeks earlier, but decided she didn’t want to be bothered over the holiday. I was miserable. I was in so much pain I could hardly walk. All I wanted was to hold my baby in my arms. I have to admit I didn’t enjoy Christmas much that year. All I could think about was having that baby. A week later I did…only to have him die as well.

This Christmas I will remember as well. This Christmas will be remembered by many. The parents of 20 first graders will NEVER be able to forget this Christmas. What an awful memory for these families. I had presents for Uriah under the tree that Christmas just before he was born. I’m sure these families do as well for their children. Can you imagine what it must be like for them?

Some people may look at the two Christmases that I remember as awful memories. I suppose I could focus on the negative of those Christmases, but I chose not to do that.  Instead I think of my wonderful brother having been able to enjoy the last 32 years with his Lord and Savior. He’s been able to be with Uriah for the last 3 years. I bet he has just about pinched Uriah’s cheeks until they are almost raw. My family will know what I mean by that. Today I am another day closer to seeing them both. I am ready to see them. Ready for people I love to stop hurting. Ready for this world to stop hurting each other. Ready for the killing to stop. Ready to have Christmas every day in Heaven.

I’m ready….are you?  If you’re not ready for heaven, don’t you want to be? If you don’t know for sure you’re going to heaven someday, please message me and I will be more than happy to share with you how you can know and be ready to enjoy eternity.

Merry Christmas and may every Christmas that you have be a fond memory for years to come.