I was enjoying my morning at MOPS when a few thoughts entered into my thinking. It was pointed out in our meeting that we are merely 7 weeks away from Christmas! I know Christmas is just around the corner, and I actually have been looking forward to it this year. I'm ready for the Christmas music, decorations, and the holiday dresses for my girls. Usually I'm not ready this early, but it's been a long year to me and I feel ready to celebrate and make happy memories with my family once again this holiday season. I didn't, however, take time to think about what this Christmas will mean in other ways to my family. This morning our speaker in MOPS was asking us questions about the holiday and one of the questions asked us what we don't like about the holiday. I instantly thought about not having Christmas with my own family. It's been years since I've celebrated Christmas with my family. I've never given it too much thought because we visit my family in the summer when we can stay longer and don't have to battle bad weather for traveling. This year is different though. This year I have to face the reality that it's last Christmas my grandmother will be with us.
My grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer in June. Her latest scans have come back good, that the cancer is stablized, but we know the chemo she's taking will only prolong her earthly stay for a brief time. Not to say miraculous things can't happen, but I could see it in her eyes when we were there in August. She's tired. She's happy with the life she's lived. She knows something greater waits for her. These are the moments where I realize how hard it is to live so far away. My mom is seeing it now, too. She is watching my grandmother move much slower, requiring more effort in every activity, and also seeing her memory slowly deteriorate.
I am thankful that I have such happy memories of Christmas in my grandparents' home growing up. I don't know how many more visits I'll have to that home I know so well. Eventually it will become someone else's home. Despite how depressing this may sound, I can honestly say it gives me a new appreciation for the reason we celebrate Christmas. The coming of our Savior and knowing that because of our shared faith in his death, burial, and resurrection, I will someday be reunited with my grandparents. Regardless of the hard times, challenges, and losses suffered here on earth, Jesus has given us an eternal hope. This is why I will look forward to celebrating Christmas this year.