This time of year is both wonderful and horrible for me.
Wonderful, as I celebrate the willingness of my Saviour to take on human form for only a few decades, that through His sacrifice and resurrection, I might be saved.
Horrible, because of the overwhelming sense of loss that clouds the holidays.
When I was twelve, I watched my father cry for the first time in my memory as he said goodbye to his father just three days into the New Year.
Two years later, I felt my grasp on my one safe place slip, as it became my crucible. The actual break with this place didn't officially occur until later that winter, but the seeds were planted.
Eight years later, I spent my final Christmas with my precious Grandma. I told her I loved her for the last time. She would begin to slip away just a few weeks later, finally passing the night after my 22nd birthday.
Two years ago, I experienced another kind of loss, a loss of friendships. One of those loses that you grieve months later, as you realize how little you knew these friends. Future meetings are tainted by awkwardness, and guilt, because on some level, you wonder if your loss was caused by your own inadequacies and failures.
Why am I writing this down on my little blog that only eight people read? Because I am learning to own my past, as messy and painful as it is. The fact that all of my yucky times have occurred around the holidays has given me a new purpose - take them back.
So, I put up my Christmas tree this year - even though I should have been cleaning my bathroom.
And I bought whimisical Christmas wrapping paper - because it had owls and fuchsia berries. And because, truthfully, I have never gotten over my childhood love of fuchsia. (Although, the spelling of the word continues to be a challenge.)
And, as soon as this sore throat goes away, I am pulling out a wax-stained recipe card to make my family's sugar cookies. Just like Grandma taught me...