We had many wonderful Christmases in our family. Each was a happy family memory. All involved the typical preparation, decoration and family gathering. The one that stands out the most in my mind is the one that we thought might never happen.
My father had suffered another major heart attack right before Christmas. Dad had been through 20 years of having heart attacks and recovering from each of them, but this one we weren't sure he'd survive.
The family rallied and stayed by his side in our attempt at helping him in any way we could. Our daily prayer was asking that he survive. Each day we were reminded of how very fragile he was and how close we were to losing him.
All Christmas celebrations were put on hold until a time that we knew he was safe. His body was so weak and each attack had seriously limited his heart to even function. My children were grown and I had small grandchildren. I'm sure that my daughter had their own small version of Christmas for the kids.
I remember my dad’s tear-filled eyes on Christmas morning as he begged us to take my mother home and away from the hospital for Christmas. We all understood his request but we couldn't leave his side.
It was a long and difficult month in the hospital. I would say that he never really recovered from that one.
In February we decided to have a family Christmas. Dad loved the holidays so much and we wanted him to enjoy another one. We strung lights all around the house, inside and out. We strung stings of Christmas cards from family and friends. We decorated a tall house plant with ornaments and lights. I still had a very small Christmas tree in a pot that was dead and brown, because I kept saying that I was going to decorate it when dad was well enough.
So in February we hit the switch. The house was completely lit up.The tree, the plant, the window lights and all. The manger was set. Christmas music played in the background. Christmas sweaters and children in their fancy little clothes. It was Christmas.
All of the unopened gifts that had gathered dust for two months were piled around the little dead, brown tree. It was beautiful.
Needless to say, our prayers had been answered. We celebrated life that day!