Christmas #2Christmas in Hawaii

I spent the first Christmas of my marriage to Linda on a ship stationed at Pearl Harbor Hawaii. It was a lonely weird time. We were married on November 29th and December 10th I shipped out. I remember standing on the deck of the ship on Christmas eve looking out over the harbor. The lights reflecting off the water and the stars and moon shining in the sky. By the time our second Christmas came around she had moved to Hawaii and joined me. We were able to celebrate together in our small apartment in Waikiki. From that Christmas on we were together every year for Christmas. Now I readily admit that I’m not a huge Christmas fan but I got so much joy watching her put together our family Christmases over the forty four years of our marriage. It was her time of the year. She loved shopping for just the perfect gift for each of our children. I usually complained about how much everything cost or how many gifts we were buying that year but always acquiesced to her joy. Some years she would go all out in decorating our home and some years (to my relief) she would decide to be minimal. 

Last year was my first Christmas without her. I honestly didn’t even want to get the decorations from the shed loft. I just wanted it to pass. I’d get together with my kids and family and somehow get through it. But I decided to go ahead and decorate and celebrate. I admit it was a minimalist Christmas as far as decorations go. We celebrated and enjoyed our traditional Christmas breakfast and later on that day started a new tradition.  We had our Duck and Chuck dinner. (Smoked chuck roast and Chinese bbq’d duck bought from the Asian market) God blessed us with a joyous day of celebration. 

I guess that I was expecting this year to be a just a little easier. This would be our second Christmas without her. But in many ways this one has been even harder. Maybe it’s because I was prepared for the first one to be hard and this one easier. But it hasn’t proved to be any easier. I don’t know now if it will ever be “easier”. I guess you just figure out how to make it the best it can be and move on. But I do know it will be good. We will gather together as a family and have our Christmas breakfast and again, some duck and chuck later in the day. We will enjoy each other’s love and company. We will laugh, cry, and enjoy watching Ivan James get excited.  But we will all miss her. It was her time of the year. 

God is healing us. He is making us stronger as a family. We are learning to function with a huge hole in our hearts. But that’s what He does. He makes us strong in our weakness. He brings us joy in our brokenness. He heals our afflictions. He is the mighty Prince of Peace, the wonderful Counselor, the everlasting Savior. He tells us in His word that His grace is sufficient and I believe Him.Merry Christmas!

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