As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. -- Isaiah 55:10-11

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For Christmas...I Want Santa Claus

The season of anticipation is upon us. Christmas is just around the corner, and for the first time since I was a kid, I wish there were a Santa Claus.

This week has passed with each day finding me in tears at some point.

I thought last year would be the hard year. I had no idea how numb I was...until the numb wore off.

This year, I'm not numb. This year I'm wishing there were a Santa Claus.

One thing Rob and I did well was Christmas.

We picked an evening, went on a date, had dinner, and shopped for the children. On another day, we would split the children up, have parent child date night, and let them shop for each other. Then he would take them for a night with Dad, and they would shop for me.

We put the tree up together. I doled out the ornaments, and everyone else decorated the tree, each person putting the personal ornaments from the years before. The children shared putting up the Pooh Bear figurines, and Rob always put up the Star Trek Shuttle and the Fragile leg from A Christmas Story.

On Christmas Eve, we baked cookies and put them on a plate for Santa. A glass of milk sat by them so he could dip the cookies or simply swallow down the sugar. The children wrote letters to Santa, telling about their year, telling him thank you, wishing him well, and all the teeth lost during the year were laid nicely by the plate for Santa to take to the Tooth Fairy so she could have the night off.

When the children were asleep, Rob and I would watch It's a Wonderful Life and wrap gifts. He wore his green reindeer shirt I made him the year we got married and his Christ-moose socks with the big antlers and fuzzy red nose. We packed stockings, laughed a lot, and thanked God for the wonder of being parents.

He ate the cookies--leaving lots of crumbs--and drank the milk and wrote in elegant print a letter from Santa replying to the children's notes, thanking them for the goodies, and telling them how thoughtful it was to give the Tooth Fairy the night off.

On Christmas, the schedule altered some, but for the most part, we opened gifts, ate lunch, played with toys, played games, and enjoyed being a family...even last year.

But this year...

This year the kids really have nothing they want, and I don't want to shop alone anyway. We've decided not to put up the personal ornaments but buy all new ones. And I can't even think about Christmas Eve or letters to Santa that have no one to answer, and, yes, the kids knew it was their dad, which makes it even harder. I don't know when I will be alone to wrap presents, and I cannot watch It's a Wonderful Life without wishing Rob could have realized how amazing he was to us and how much he gave to us by simply being part of life.

And how do we even touch Christmas Day?

And this year, I wish there were a Santa Claus.

I wish I could wake up Christmas morning to find gifts under the tree, stockings filled, and lights shining...on the tree and in the darkness.
I wish there were boxes and bags of new things,
things we've never considered,
things that show us something new about ourselves and the life being rebuilt,
things that fill the air with laughter and our hearts with joy.

I wish...

I wish there were a Santa to take the weight of the day,
to fill it with life when it feels like everything about it this year just reminds us of death.

I wish he would fill the air with laughter and the smell of pumpkin pie.

I wish he would bring the perfect gifts,
the perfect people,
the perfect hugs,
the perfect stocking stuffers,
...the perfect heart fillers.

I wish he would bring the Christmas I can't even imagine this year.

I wish....

I wish there were a Santa Claus.


Cindy said...

Usually, when I read a post like this, I would say I can't imagine. But unfortunately, this year, I can imagine. I imagine it everyday and dread it just as much.
How will we face Christmas Eve this year remembering the first anniversary of hubby's passing, or Christmas, waking up without him, not drinking hot chocolate together or eating cinnamon/sugar toast.
You know I am praying for you and your family. I DO know how difficult it will be, because I will be there as well.
Wishing there was a Santa or just a Jesus who decided to make things different for us. A Santa to make it a magical moment or a Jesus to just hold us and wipe our tears away.
I can imagine but honestly Jerri, I just don't want to!
Thinking of you everyday!
Wishing those Hugs could find their way to 'reality'
Blessings to you girlfriend,

Jerri Kelley said...

Oh, Cindy, my heart...

I have often questioned God's choices to take people on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It feels so...just not right, but it is easy to say He is giving that person a gift...the ultimate Christmas. It is a beautiful gift.

And those left behind....

I wish you couldn't imagine either. Oh, how I wish...

My heart is with you, praying...

Beautiful woman of God, I am wishing for you, too.

Blessings and comfort, dear one!

Karen B. King said...

Oh, how this post breaks my heart, Jerri. My worst tragedy happened on Dec. 22nd and it took years before I could even get through Christmas without all of the feelings you are describing. Now my kids are grown and my daughter has kids of her own. She kind of "made" Christmas for us a great deal. An ADHD child's enthusiasm for Christmas is indescribably contagious. So, it's just Bill and me. Bryan lives here. But he's 35 and has never lost his "bah humbug" attitude about Christmas since that happened with his Dad all of those years ago. So I wish there was a Santa, too, especially with this chronic fatigue that makes everything a chore for me and if I don't motivate, not even the tree would get up. My circumstances are no longer raw like yours; it is more of a health issue but I remember the raw much more than I care to. It would be
very easy for me to say, "Let's just not put up a tree this year", etc. but I fear if we ever stop, we won't start back again.

I do know that I am very sure that I want to concentrate more on the real reason for Christmas this year than in the past. Christmas is on a Sunday. That will help.

Nothing I can say will help but please know I care for you and for the reply that you got and will be praying. I KNOW how those empty spots at the table feel and how the missing persons leave a hole that just can't be filled. I KNOW about crying at the least expected times. The smallest thing can set it off.

Thank you for putting up this post. I needed to remember the pain. It will make me remember that this Christmas could be much, much worse and has been in the past. How I love you, dear Jerri. How I love your honesty and transparency. It is a ministry, honey, even though you may not see it now. I can envision one day that you will take all of these posts and put them in a book to help hurting people. I had a friend who sent me back the painful letters that I had sent to her. She is an editor and she told me that now it was time to put it all in a book. I am on Chapter Four. It isn't moving quickly because it is still hard to touch the raw moments and feelings. Much love and many blessings!

Tracy said...

Hi Jerri - I can only imagine how different this Christmas time must feel but i think part of the solution you mentioned yourself, new ornaments. Start new traditions, keep favourite ones and make new memories. Do something this year that will make Christmas history! It is what it is, its here, so Jerri-lize it!
God bless

Jerri Kelley said...

"Jerri-lize it."
Tracy, I *LOVE* that!!

"I fear if we ever stop, we won't start back again."
Oh, my dear Karen, I understand. I remember wanting nothing more than to stay in bed, but knowing if I did, I had no idea when I would get up again.

You encourage me beyond words. I love you deep. :-)

Anonymous said...

I think you have a very good start on making this Christmas special by bringing in the new ornaments. I would keep the leg lamp from a Christmas Story though. We have one too and it brings a smile to my face when it says you used all the glue on purpose. You are in my prayers friend. It is okay for this year to be what it is. It doesnt make you broken or deficient. It reveals that you are human and God is at work in your heart and your life as you seek His comfort and mercy. He will bring the perfect gifts, people, and those blessed hugs from Him that are wrapped in human friends.

Jerri Kelley said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you. :-)

I laughed about the Leg Lamp. I don't think ours mentions glue. It just keeps saying, "Fra-jee-lay. Must be Italian."

We did put the tree up. It is tropical. :-) About as opposite Christmas as one can get. Aqua, hot pink, and lime green. Flowers, butterflies, and dragonflies with liana vines and "pitcher plants". It glows. :-) The personal ornaments were bought, filled with pictures, and tucked safely away. Some year, but not this one.

And thank you for your comment. "It is okay for this year to be what it is. It doesnt make you broken or deficient. It reveals that you are human and God is at work in your heart and your life as you seek His comfort and mercy." Beautifully put. :-)

Bless you. May this be a season of wonder for you...the kind that comes from a child's heart seeing things new.

With appreciation....