Wednesday, December 11, 2013

13 more days until Christmas! by Syndi Powell



Syndi Powell here. All this talk about family traditions and the holidays reminds me of the people I've lost that won't be there to celebrate this year. One of them is my dad.

The above ornament is one that he made when he was in kindergarten. It was usually one of the first ones that graced our tree every year, and after he died, we kept that tradition alive. The ornament circulates between my two sisters and I so that we all share it. This year, it will be on my youngest sister's tree which means it will come back to me for next year.

Holidays without the ones we love are difficult. It's like there's a hole that the person used to fill, and nothing can quite fill it no matter how we try. That doesn't mean that the holiday doesn't go on because it has to. But it also means that traditions that we hang on to need to change.

There's a little known Christmas song called "Merry Christmas with Love" where an older woman is sitting alone in her house. There's no tree or gifts. Those she loved are now gone, and she's alone. And then she hears carolers singing outside. The silence of her life is now filled with song, and she finds herself going out and joining them.

I'll admit that this song makes me tear up every time. Because I know people like that older woman who feel alone. Unloved. Unwanted. And my heart breaks for them especially at this time of year. In youth group, we would often go caroling at the senior homes. The delight on their faces warmed us even as we tramped through snow and ice. I know of one family who invites to dinner all the college students who can't go home for the holidays and gets them a small gift so that they'll feel included.

So maybe this Christmas, we should remember those who are absent from our holidays. Perhaps spend a moment thinking of them and cherishing our memories with them. But what if we also share some time with someone who has no one? That would be a gift not only to the lonely, but to us as well.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

14 comments:

  1. I forgot to add that a bunch of us will be giving away Christmas ornaments and books (of course) at the Harlequin Holiday Open House tomorrow. You can chat with authors and readers as well as win prizes. Check us out here: http://community.harlequin.com/

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  2. Syndi, Your post made me cry this morning. This will be my 3rd Christmas without Denny. They tell me it's supposed to get easier, but I haven't found that to be true. I'm lucky to have my sister in town, but still something major is missing. I have a lot of Christmas music. I think I'll go dig out the CDs right now.

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    1. Denny was so awesome. Roz, I'm thinking about you :)

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    2. Roz, I didn't mean to make you cry :( Sending you a bunch of hugs your way.

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  3. I teared up just reading your post! I haven't heard of that song, but will look for it now! This time of year does remind us of whom we've lost. It always makes me hug those I love and still have in my life that much tighter.

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    1. Karen, it's a great song. Sandi Patty is the first one that I know of that released it, but Clay Aiken did it too a couple of years ago. It's a great song and always gets me teary. That and "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant where she shares what Mary might have been thinking as her labor started. Definitely worth the effort to find them!

      And yes, we should definitely hold those we have tighter and longer.

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  4. Syndi - I love your dad's ornament, and the fact that you and your sisters share it. That's true family. So many of those I love are gone, but they're with me every day. In my manger is a camel my mother gave me that she bought for her manger from Newberry's in the 40s. My dad's rosary hangs in my office and goes downstairs among my favorite things for Christmas. Our lives are very rich, but as we get older it becomes like open-work lace. There are all those spaces. Nice post, Syndi - and a good reminder to reach out.

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    1. Muriel, I love that image of the open-work lace. You have such a gift!

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  5. Syndi - I choked up reading your post. It's an incredibly beautiful thing that you have his childhood ornament AND share it with your sisters. I'm very sentimental. Love this.

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    1. Thanks, Rula. We also have the stocking that my mom made and that goes with the ornament :)

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  6. Syndi-moving post:) We lost my grandmother at 69 years of age in Feb of this year, so I know the holidays will definitely feel different this year without her laughter...And unfortunately, my other grandmother is the lady from the song-and it shames me to say that it shouldn't be so...We live in Edmonton and despite our best efforts she refuses to move here, but she does have other children in Newfoundland-all of whom practically ignore her-it sickens me actually...that she will be alone again this Christmas Eve for no reason at all. So, for that reason, I probably won't listen to the song, but maybe I will forward the youtube link to a few others I know...see if their grinchy hearts might grow a few sizes! xo

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    1. :) Grinchy hearts are very vulnerable this time of year. Love that.

      The holidays won't be the same without our loved ones there, but I find that remembering them for just a moment during the season and all the wonderful memories helps me. And then sharing those memories with others too. It's why I wanted to share this here because it keeps the memory of my dad alive for not just me but all who read this.

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  7. Such a touching post, Syndi! I think it is so sweet that you and your sisters share the ornament so you all can revisit those memories. The holidays bring feelings of happiness mixed with a little sadness that not everyone we love is around to celebrate with us. I think a lot of people can relate to that!

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