Or day after Christmas, I suppose.
I really wanted to do some kind of Holiday post about good cheer, cookies, Santa, and presents. Every time I'd try to clear my thoughts and whip out my blogging device, however, I'd draw a blank. No accidents, I figured, and I let my dad hold down the blogging fort.
And now, Christmas has left the plate and New Years is up to bat.
I'm currently in the back of my parents Saturn Vue on the I-15 headed South to Salt Lake City, then on through Vegas. My dad and mom are talking in the front, and I've got my headphones, laptop, and Internet card in the back seat. Our ultimate destination is Palm Springs, California for some extended family visiting.
And I think I'm ready to write a bit about my mixed feelings this Holiday season.
This year has been painful, no doubt. I've written about it plenty before. Thanksgiving proved especially difficult, because, well, it's hard to to give thanks when there's not much to be thankful for. Then again, it really did put in perspective what I do have to be thankful for. You can read about that here.
Christmas is my favorite holiday, no doubt. I love everything that goes with it: decorating my family Christmas tree, setting up the little village on our chimney, putting up the lights with my dad, drinking my mom's delicious homemade egg nog, enjoying a cup of coffee and a good book by the fireplace, and most of all: Christmas morning. I love waking up to the presents, hugging my parents and whispering "Merry Christmas." The stockings are always opened first in my house: we each open our stocking at the same time, pausing every few gifts to look at each other's winnings. After stockings, my mom generally has some kind of small breakfast cooked up. This year it was cinnamon rolls, and man did they taste good with the coffee she brewed up. The presents came next, and because I'm the youngest, I got to hand them all out. This year my cousin Dannie came and opened presents with my family; she was an awesome addition. Every year I pass out a present to each person, and we take turns opening in some kind of orderly fashion. This particular year we did oldest to youngest. Every present is appreciated, and none are taken for granted. We hug each other and laugh plenty.
My family has traditions built around relationship and love.
And this year, one of the stockings remained hanging above the fireplace. Empty.
Papa, what are you doing?
My family made the decision this year, at the prompting of my sister, to remember my brother for who he was in his entirety. Now this may sound all fine and dandy to you, but you probably didn't know my brother. There is a lot of hurt in my family from things he said, things he did, and tension he caused. For my sister, the bad memories outweigh the good. For me, some of the earliest memories of my brother are of him lying, deceiving, and yelling at my parents. For my parents, they raised a fun-loving beautiful boy who turned into a drug-addict trouble producing man.
It's really easy to Saintify someone when they die. It's a lot harder to acknowledge who they were in their entirety.
But something that's hit home for me this year is that, in the grand scheme of things, what I DO really holds little worth. If I could DO my way into Heaven, there would have been no reason for Baby Jesus to make his manger appearance.
What I'm beginning to see now is that the coin has two sides.
How often do I find myself holding on to my actions as if they are what defines me? In reality, who I am in Christ is all that really holds weight.
For my brother, his actions would have sent him to Hell. Who he was in Christ made all the difference, eternally.
Looking over at that empty stocking on Christmas morning was not easy. Neither was sitting around the table saying a bad memory I had about my brother.
For all of his imperfections, and everything he DID that was awful, the person who he WAS, was amazing. And, as the case could certainly be made, the person he IS, is even more incredible.
Christmas was hard, but it was good.
And now, it's about time to celebrate the onset of 2010. For me, next year will hold all kinds of changes, not the least of which is the transition for High School to College. And something I've learned from this year is that no matter what I do, what happens to me, and what changes I go through, God is the same. Yesterday, today, and forever baby. He's where it's at: the Alpha and the Omega. He's Love, and He loves me. Insecurity and fear begone, Jesus dwells in my heart, life. Next year is going to be incredible not because of what I do, but who I am in Him.
I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, and that your New Year's Celebration is full of fun!