'Tis the season...

The house is decorated and cookie baking has begun. Shopping is still only partially finished, and menu planning for meals to eat while our boys are home to visit is still on my to-do list. My Christmas letter is written, though I still have copies to print and mail to address. My book deadline is met, so I'm breathing easier there. Christmas parties and coffee or dinner with friends are all part of the season I truly enjoy. I even braved the freeway yesterday for such a visit...and if you know me, you know what a feat that truly was!

I love this time of year, but I will admit this particular year is shadowed by a certain sense of sadness, not only for me, but for several of my friends. One friend also lost her dad a few weeks back and the other just lost her mom. Holidays are always more difficult to get through for those who grieve. Not a day goes by that I don't think about my dad and what a wonderful man he was, and how much he loved his family. Christmases changed for us the year he entered the nursing home. We did not know that last Christmas would be his last on earth.

But then none of us knows how long we have left, how many Christmases are yet to come. And I was thinking how important it is to love the people God has placed in our lives now. To repent of past failures and seize the time we have left, to love as Jesus loved.

My dad loved like that, and I have wonderful memories of our times together. I recounted some to my mom the other day, of how my dad used to come home from work at lunch time when I was a kid to be there when I came home. That was back in the day when we could go home during the lunch break, and I made the long walk rather than eat on school grounds. My mom worked part-time, so my dad would come home on those days and let me in the house.

But my favorite memories are the many times he blessed me with his loving words. He was such a grateful man. Whenever I would visit him in the nursing home, his face would light up with a smile. I would have hated living in such a place, but he didn't complain. He was just so glad to see his family.

And now he is with Jesus and his forever family - those who shared the same love of God that he did.

Christmas will not be the same without him. But I take comfort in knowing that the little smile he so often wore as he sat back and watched those he loved on earth, is bigger now, and his laughter is richer, his joy complete. Jesus came to give us that - so that we could be with Him where He is. Like Daddy is now.

'Tis the season to remember...and anticipate!


PersonalJill Eileen Smith