Buried beneath wrapping paper and ribbons, behind the faux white beard and mounds of mashed potatoes, in the midst of bowl games and interstate travel, is Christmas. Not the shiny, consumer version that encourages hopes to climb high, but the pure, sacred holiday that counters contentedness can reign.  Although this season hasn’t felt as merry and bright as we wish it could, we were reminded that excitement and gratitude are not meant to be reserved only for packages under the tree, but for the gifts of family and of love, all year long. 

Due to the complexity of Celia’s care, we’ve gotten to know family better, those who have filled in as second and third and fourth fathers and fifth and sixth mothers. We’ve needed to depend on family more than ever, and we’re grateful for their willingness to help and that our relationships with them have grown.
We weren't fully aware of the extent of our support system until tragedy struck. Since then we've been upheld by friends, their sturdy scaffolding shoring up our emotions and bolstering our moods, many even in the midst of their own ups and downs and losses and pains.
Our marriage has been strengthened, because we’ve been forced to communicate about difficult subjects, to be honest and to trust. We’ve had the for better, we've had the for worse, and we have each other.  We’ve gained the ability to laugh at the absurdities of our life when tears are the only alternative.

It comes in unexpected packaging and without gift receipts, but when we peel back the sorrow and discard the anger, when we toss the worry and expose what's left, we can find almost as much joy and beauty in the holiday season as there was in her.  And, we can try to trust the return policy.

* Thanks to Great Aunts Sally and Angie for catching a Christmas smile.


The Wendels said...

Celia's smile is one of the best gifts I received this holiday. Thank you so much for sharing!

Debi said...

Precious girl with a beautiful smile.
Trusting and beliving God with you.
Love and hugs and prayers,

Poppy John said...

I believe that Sally and Angie captured Celia's Christmas smile while she was glancing at the Christmas Star. God Blessed her picture.

L2A4 and the Celia circle.