I’m not going to lie, before last night there wasn’t a lot of Christmas spirit in my heart.
I knew this first Christmas without my Dad was going to be hard, but I didn’t realize it was going to turn me into a Scrooge who shouted “Ba humbug!” in between crying jags. Buying Christmas presents hasn’t particularly helped my attitude, nor has decorating the Christmas tree. And given my recent disposition, I haven’t even attempted holiday baking of any kind.
However, last night, some sort of Christmas miracle happened that expanded my heart three sizes. It came in the form of the most picked upon and bullied cartoon boy of all time: Charlie Brown.
My husband got home from night school early (which is a mini holiday miracle in and of itself) and the kids were freshly bathed and robed in all their pajama glory while I kept sniffing their heads. (Oh come on, I know I’m not the only one who’s addicted to the smell of little kid shampoo.) My son sensing parental weakness sneakily turned on the t.v. and discovered that the Charlie Brown Christmas special was on.
You would have thought my offspring had never seen television with all the pleading and hoopla that went on in my living room. “Please can we watch it? Please, Mom, please! I’ll never ask for anything else in my entire life even until I die! And if I don’t get to watch it I’m going to just die right now! You’re so pretty Mom, PLEASE!”
I magnanimously agreed since I had been particularly Grinch-like earlier in the day and was trying to redeem myself before bedtime. Plus their pleading was just downright entertaining. And they called me ‘pretty.’
We all settled into the couch and began watching Charlie Brown get pushed around. When the four year old saw the cartoon character Snoopy, she stood up on the couch and shouted, “I KNOW THAT DOG!” She then ran up the stairs, into my bedroom, grabbed my thirty year old stuffed Snoopy Dog off his shelf of honor, and brought him downstairs. “THIS IS SNOOPY!”
The older two kids found her amazed (and extremely loud) delight in a cartoon dog hilarious. They also thought the Charlie Brown theme music was outstanding. Pretty soon they were all doing their best impression of Charlie Brown dancing. (And when I say ‘they’ I really mean “we.” My impression of the twin girls in pink is fairly fantastic, if I do say so myself.)
We were giggling exhaustedly on the couch when Linus gave his simple but beautiful explanation of Christmas. As I looked at my sweet, beautiful family the Christmas spirit filled my heart with such joy.
Yes, I have lost much this year. Yes, I’m going to cry when I miss my father the most. But I have so many blessings still with me. I have an amazing family. I have deep within me a testimony of a life after this life when there will be no more good-byes. I have love, I have memories, and I have hope.
In short, I have it all.