It’s that time of year again. There’s something about Christmas that just feels different from the rest of the year; a tangible change in the atmosphere that marks the beginning of the festive season.
Six months ago, I had imagined what this Christmas would be like. Double everything. A bazillion presents under the tree for two little ones who can’t even find their own hands, let alone open presents. Arms full as the boys get passed from family member to family member. Sleeping babies snuggled peacefully together as we spend snowy nights under twinkling Christmas lights.
They say the Christmas season can be difficult and this year, I definitely understand that. I know there’s bound to be a few extra tears as we mourn “what could have been.” But I also know that this season is a reminder of abounding hope.
I think about all the things that I can’t wait to share with Alistair: all the future Christmases and traditions we’ll create as a family.
I can’t wait until Alistair gets to play in the snow for the first time; a little face pressed against a frosty window, watching thick flakes float down from heavy clouds. I can’t wait to bundle him up in his first snow suit, red mittens and a tiny knitted toque.
I think about the day when he’ll decorate his first gingerbread cookie and give a great belly laugh as daddy does his best “Gingy” impression: “Not my gumdrop buttons!”
I look forward to introducing him to Christmas carols and annoying songs about Rudolph that are shouted around the house on permanent repeat.
I’m excited to see the delight on Ali’s tiny face as he awakens each Christmas morning and races to the living room to rip gold bows and snowman wrapping paper off presents.
I can’t wait for Alistair to hear the story of the baby Jesus, lying in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes.
And my heart hurts to think that we had originally envisioned doing all of these things with two. Every Christmas from now on, someone will be missing.
I think about the extra stocking that should have been hanging next to Alistair’s, the missing presents under the tree or the fact that I only had to buy one set of Christmas pyjamas. I think about how there should have been two babies celebrating their first Christmas; four ears to hear about the greatest gift of all, the Prince of Peace.
And yet, although we mourn, we rejoice. Because a tiny babe was born, we have hope. This season is not empty; it still holds the same joy, the same light that it always has. We’re celebrating the birth of the Holy One; in Him we have life.
In fact, I’m slightly envious envious of my firstborn. After all, Landon has the privilege of worshipping Christ without distraction. The only thing my son has ever known is spending time with the one whose birth we’re celebrating.
For Landon, every day is Christmas.