Christmas had always been very special to me. I made a fuss decorating, sending cards, buying presents, and making tons of cookies. My husband, however, was more like Ebenezer Scrooge in The Christmas Carol.
“Why send all those cards? Postage costs way too much. Quit buying all those presents for everyone and his brother. No, we can’t have electric lights on the outside of our house. Don’t bake all those cookies. We don’t need them.”
My three girls and I begged to have a Christmas tree early in the season, but he would cut one when he was ready. This usually tended to be rather close to Christmas Day. The couple of gifts that he picked out for me were purchased on Christmas Eve while the clerks were trying to close the stores. Oh, he enjoyed Christmas day, the good food, and visiting with family and friends, but he just didn’t have the spirit.
In December, during buck season, my paraplegic brother broke his leg while transferring from his wheel chair to a regular chair. He wanted to look out the window to see the buck that my other brother shot. He developed a blood clot and a week later and on December 10th, at the age of 47, passed away.
My mother hadn’t been feeling well, but she refused to see the doctor while my brother was in the hospital. After my brother’s funeral, she had tests done, and the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. She developed a blockage, and on December 17th underwent bypass surgery.
During this time, Christmas planning came to a halt with no cookies, no tree, and few presents being purchased. I went to work, came home, fixed dinner for my elderly Dad and family, and then drove to the hospital to visit my Mom. The Dr. told us that her condition was terminal, and this would be her last Christmas. My heart felt numb with grief. I couldn’t even think about Christmas preparations with Mom still in the hospital, and the death of my brother. My spirits sank to an all time low.
My husband mentioned to me about cutting a tree. My response was, “I don’t care if we even have one.” My children were ages, six, thirteen, and fifteen. I knew I needed to make an effort for them, but I hadn’t the strength.
A couple days before Christmas, I ran downstairs to do a load of laundry before going to the hospital. My husband came down, took me by the shoulders, and propelled me into the basement recreation room. There in the corner stood a Christmas tree that he and the girls had cut and beautifully decorated.
I cried. I cried over the death of my brother, my mother’s diagnosis, and for the love of my Ebenezer, and my children in trying to help me feel better. When I saw the manger scene, a thought occurred to me—Christmas wasn’t about me, or my family’s dire circumstances. It was the birthday of my King. Despite my sadness, I could still celebrate. Christmas was about the love which God extended from heaven the first Christmas, when he sent His Son in the form of a tiny baby to become our Savior.
Yes, I could still say…”God Bless us Everyone!”
Oh, yes, my Ebenezer still gets a little ”scroogie” sometime over prices of gifts, postage, and outside Christmas lights, but that Christmas he too caught the true spirit of Christmas.