A Christmas memory flooded into my consciousness so strong, I walked into the wrong store. I stopped and figured out that the memory was from a Christmas 40 years ago.
My Story: I had finished my third semester of college and was excited to be home. As I walked in I saw my sister busy in the kitchen. I was confused since she was married and didn’t live at home anymore. I asked, “What are you doing here? Where’s Mom?”
She explained how our Dad had an accident clearing trees and was in the hospital. I spent the next few days visiting my Dad as he recovered. On Christmas Eve my mom, little brother and I went to church. During the candle lighting ceremony, I noticed tears in my brother’s eyes as we sang Silent Night, the one song my dad sang in church. My mom insisted the two of us open a gift that night. I still remember the string art I got from my little brother. All the other gifts stayed wrapped under the tree waiting for my dad to return home.
All around us Christmas had passed. But in our house, we were still waiting. Even my older siblings had their own family’s Christmases. But none of us wanted Christmas without my dad. So, we waited. We had hoped he would be home for New Year’s, but that didn’t happen. Finally, he came home on Sunday, January 9th. We celebrated Christmas that day. The next morning, I returned to college as planned. When another student asked me, “How was your Christmas?” I cried as I said, “As of yesterday, GREAT!”
Christmas can be a time for tears. Over the years, I have realized there are many types of Christmas tears.
Tears of sadness – when the unexpected happens (when my dad was in the hospital)
Tears of disappointment – when a dream is broken (my teacher told me about Santa Claus when I was 9)
Tears of loneliness – when someone is not home for the holiday (My oldest daughter, Danielle, was in South Africa for 2 years)
Tears of loss – when a loved one is no longer a part of your life (my Dad is no longer here, but I think of him each year as we sing Silent Night)
There are also tears of joy! (When I look around the dinner table and feel the love that is shared.)
Tears of happiness – for a gift you received
Tears of love – when someone cries for a gift you gave
In addition, there are the unexpected tears that take you by surprise.
Tears of disappointment – for not getting something you really wanted or needed
Tears of stress – too much stress it boils over or stress release
Tears of laughter – laughing so hard, you cry
Goodbye tears – when loved ones leave or the holiday is over
As we celebrated our family Christmas early this year, it was filled with tears. Many tears were shared. There were tears for disappointment, stress, joy, laughter, silliness and most important love. A love for each other to be honest, truthful and open to share one’s Christmas tears.