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My dear friends,

I am thinking of you mightily this Christmas season. There is much to do to prepare for family and friends who may be with you next week. I am expecting my son, Michael and his family to come on Dec. 27th, so Christmas morning will be a bit different with just my husband and me.

For those of us who have lost children, Christmas will always be a bit different, won’t it? A lot different. I no longer feel the stab of pain that Christmas brings, but I remember it well. That favorite carol, that ornament made by hands that are no longer here, the smell of turkey … you can add more. At times it felt like a cruel joke to see others laughing and having a good time when my heart was breaking.

My prayer is that you find comfort in the little things. Life is full of little moments of grace and glory. I hope you find them on Christmas Day and know they are not coincidental. They are meant just for you and, like the Virgin Mary, I trust you will ponder them in your heart.

You are loved beyond measure.

I remember my father-in-law, a very practical man, telling us that on the day of his wife Ione’s funeral, she came to him in the morning, along with my deceased daughter, Caroline Elizabeth. They told him to hold up his hands over his head and they would place their hands in his. He told us that with tears in his eyes.

This is the same man who knew exactly what day and time he was going to die. Sure enough, at 9:45 one morning he insisted on getting dressed, sat in his favorite chair and died peacefully at 10:00. He just nodded off. He knew it was time to go. I’d like to think it was Ione and C. Elizabeth who helped him cross over.

All this is to say there is a great love which surrounds us by those “seen and unseen” as the Episcopal prayer book says.

May you be surrounded by unseen hands that hold you close on Christmas Day and forever into eternity.

Much love,