Not everyone knows the joy of Christmas

Published 12:38 pm Monday, December 26, 2022

I am hoping that as you read this column you are snuggled up with your favorite hot drink, a sweet treat, dazzling Christmas lights around you, and the sound of your loved ones having a good time in the background.

This is truly my wish for you, but I totally know that some of you are sitting in a not festively decorated room, possibly a tear running down your check, an aching heart, and the wish to hear the laughter of your loved ones just one more time. For years I really only focused on the happy thoughts and feelings of the holidays, but that really changed 8 years ago. During the holiday season 8 years ago I had just faced a life-changing experience- breast cancer. Just a few weeks before Thanksgiving that year I had a double mastectomy. The blessing of the surgery was no trace of any more cancer, but the reality was the struggle of loss, not the loss of my breasts, but the loss of the way I thought of life. That year for Christmas I wanted to share with my loved ones how much the time spent with them was so important to me. My simple gift was a watch for each of them. I was hoping that my words with the gift would be the start of a new direction in our lives. I told each of them that I wanted to cherish the time I had with them, because time is really not promised to us. My precious daughter received the gift and words with open arms. However, my husband scoffed at the gesture and at that moment another chapter of my life was coming to a close. The next few Christmases after that lacked the joy and hope that it had before. The darkness hovered over me, even when Jenni and I experienced new and exciting adventures. Her love for me and life is what kept me alive. Over the next years, we lost my Momma and then my Daddy.

At that point there was no amount of Christmas lights or Christmas music that brought joy to the holiday season. Every 365 days that went by were the same- no joy, no hope, and really no desire to face another day. Again, Jenni was there loving me and reminding me that through all of the yuck that this life I was living was better than the alternative. The words that tomorrow would be better seemed like a fairytale.

I tell you all of this to let you know that the better tomorrow finally did come. The life that I had totally changed. The change was work, but the results are amazing. I still have the amazing love of my incredible daughter, but now I also have new friends, a new job, new hometown, and a new home. Each of those new things have helped bring back the joy of the holidays and the joy of life.

Now if you are living in the bright lights and joy of the holidays, cherish every minute of it. Cherish those that bring you the joy (and even those that make you crazy). Laugh, sing, dance, and yes, eat. Enjoy BIG!

However, if you are living the holidays that are dark and lonely with lack of care, please hear my heart and believe me that there is joy, peace, and hope just moments away.

You are not really alone, there are people that really care that you are in their lives. You really have a reason to feel joy, even if that is just the fact that you wake up.

So, today my dear friends let’s all sing, dance, and laugh a lot. Each of you matter and it takes you to make up our community.

I am praying for you, and I wish you a very Merry CHRISTmas!