Before I even sit down at the Christmas table my senses are overwhelmed by memories. Of our 5 senses the strongest memory keeper is smell. I can smell the ham with a brown sugar glaze just how my mother-in-law made it, The smells bring back the bitter sweet memories I have of helping her in the kitchen. The tears well up but I push them back, it is too early to get teary.
Gathering around the table which is decorated beautifully with red and green ornaments, and evergreen boughs tied in bright red bows we light three candles, one for each of my children who died over the last three years.
Bowing our heads in prayer we thank God for all the blessing we stop to light three candles. With his voice cracking with emotion my husband states “As we light these candles let’s share things we remember about Josh, Beth, and Chris.” Each child had a favorite scent or flavor. Josh loved cinnamon, Beth vanilla, and for Chris it was Monster drinks so we settled on citrus. I bought scented candles for each to burn throughout the day.
In the pause that follows I want to share but I cannot say a word for the tears have tightened my throat. Instead I reach into a bag I had brought and pull out three small animals. The first is a small raccoon Josh’s favorite animal, then a frog for Beth, and lastly a giraffe for Chris. I gently place these on the table and in my own way include them in our celebration.
I miss their smiles, hugs and laughter. I can’t keep back the tears but I have the assurance from God that someday we will again sit at a feast together, the wedding feast of the lamb.
Sitting down I first reach for my napkin to dry the tears then reach for Scott’s hand, the circle continues until all hands are held around the table. We bow our heads as Scott says grace over our meal.
Suggestions for the Holiday table:
- Leave an empty seat, our loved one is gone but not forgotten
- Scented candles for each family member who is no longer here
- Stuffed animals to represent loved ones
Christmas is the celebration of Heaven coming to earth and the wedding feast a celebration after we enter Heaven.
What do you now do different with a loved one gone?