Christmas is not Always the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Twas’ a few days before Christmas and there was nary a tree. No stockings were hung by the chimney with care, no presents, no decorations; no sign of Christmas anywhere. At least, not in our house. Not that we didn’t want to decorate and go shopping and at least try to conjure up a Christmas spirit, it just wasn’t there. It got gobbled up by back pain and depression, an empty bank account and a too-sick-and-tired-to-care attitude.

And to top it all off; the last straw that broke the camel’s back, Pepper chews the corner of the cushion on the love seat. She might as well have chewed up everything in the house. At least the scenario that followed next would have made more sense.

Crying, and limping in pain, I sought solace from my husband. No. I sought a full-blown miracle! I wanted him to fix it! I wanted him to suddenly become the Dog Whisperer, to make a Christmas tree appear with a magical star on top and piles of presents underneath. I wanted him to stop the searing pain shooting down my leg. I wanted him to be God!

And as hard as he tried to understand this crazy woman bawling her eyes out, he just didn’t. So I took my tears and frustrations to bed.

Suddenly, visions of Christmas’s past danced through my head.There was the house I grew up in, and my grandmother shuffling to the living room, Bible in hand heading towards her favorite chair. And there were my brothers and my mom and dad, and even me; young and vibrant, not a care in the world sitting on the couch. Between sobs of grief, a live Christmas tree appeared, decorated with bubble lights, vintage ornaments, and tinsel hanging on the branches. There were presents and stockings and joy and laughter trailing through the house.

Like watching a sad movie, everyone I loved and lost drifted through my mind, conjuring up a potpourri of emotions I couldn’t contain.

Suddenly, the tree appeared; the one I always ran crying to when no one seemed to understand or care. Now, in my frenzied mind, it was more than just a tree; it was my best friend; my grandfather I never knew; my dad who was never there; my mom who never understood; everyone and everything I needed in times like these but was never there. Void of human arms reaching out to me, I always ran to the tree.

Now, in total desperation, I cling to the tree planted firmly in my mind, drawing comfort from its unshakable strength. The tree, so rugged and steadfast never feared my tears, my overly sensitive emotions, my anger and frustrations. It never made me feel stupid and insignificant. It just let me sit beneath its protective, sturdy limbs and cry and work it all out in my way and in my own time.

Suddenly, in the midst of my inconsolable grief, the tree faded away and God appeared, mighty and strong; His arms holding me safe. And I knew everything would be okay.

And it was. A few days before Christmas, my husband received his first disability check from the VA, lifting a heavy financial burden from our shoulders.