This time last year I wrote a blog about firsts (read it here https://wp.me/s8Y84A-firsts) .
Those of you who know the journey our family have been on will remember that last Christmas was the first that we would spend without mum, as she began her new adventure with Jesus in heaven.
Who would have thought that this Christmas would bring another first – one without dad too?
I feel a bit different this year.
Although dad was “still with us” he chose to spend Christmas abroad. I remember that it was something he had wanted to do for ages – but knew that mum would never go “and leave the kids (and by that she meant the grandchildren) over Christmas. I totally understand why he went. He was grieving just as we were. He needed space, and didn’t want to spoil Christmas for anyone.
In a sense, last Christmas felt like I’d lost both parents.
If I’m honest I found that incredibly tough. The loss of mum was still very raw. The need to spend as much time as possible with dad weighed heavily on my heart.
However much I wished he was with us last Christmas, it is nothing compared to how I feel this year.
So, like last year , this will be another one of firsts. The first without both parents, but also the first that both mum and dad get to spend together in the presence of Jesus. They so deserve to rest in His Glory, worshiping with other saints and angels.
I don’t begrudge them that reward at all. This time last year I said I was a little bit jealous. Perhaps doubly so this year.
It is still tough though. It’s the little things that I’ve noticed recently. Things like an easy solution to baby sitting. Like sharing bad “dad jokes” with dad, and trying them out on mum. Like trying to decide which set of parents we will invite for Christmas Day, and which will be on Boxing Day. The first time you find yourself thinking about these things, and you realise that baby sitting needs to be more carefully considered, that no one understands your jokes and that you have two slots over Christmas to fill with one sets of parents can get a bit teary.
If I’m honest, it hasn’t got any easier.
The busyness if the season means there are other things to fill my mind, so I don’t necessarily ask these questions very often.
If the last year has taught me anything it is that it is vital we spend quality time with those that are here. It’s good to remember those we have lost, but important that we don’t do that at the expense of those who are still with us.
The first Christmas, a baby came that would change history. The story is well known – he grew, and was violently killed on a Roman cross. He rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven. Before He went, He promised to send the Holy Spirit – who would come, fill us and abide with us.
The God who was the baby in the manger will never leave us.
If you know Him, take time to get to know Him better. If not, why not ask Him to make this the first Christmas that you spend with the real reason for the season.