|The winter sky last year at Dad's.|
I looked through my pictures from last Christmas and was reminded that my husband and I spent the day with my parents at their home, bringing them a meal and presents. I didn't know it would be my last Christmas with my beloved father. The picture tells me otherwise. Just a quiet Christmas with the four of us there.
Mom and Dad were going to Arizona that winter, but in early December 2015, Mom fractured her tailbone and was in extreme pain. That trip, meticulously planned out by my father, was cancelled when we heard the news. Bedrest, pain meds, and physical therapy took the place of travelling in the sunny southwest.
This winter, Dad again had carefully planned for wintering in Florida. The weekend after Thanksgiving Dad would take an Amtrak train with their car and Mom and I were to fly down the following Tuesday. That highly anticipated trip, also, was not meant to be when Dad fell while deer hunting just a few weeks before.
Instead, Dad has blazed the family trail, being the first one in our family to be at home with Jesus this Christmas. We never would have dreamed it, but it happened.
Life happens while we make our plans and dreams. God knew that my parents would not make it to Florida. Looking at last year's Christmas pictures, I have no regrets. Instead, I have happy memories of spending that last Christmas of his with him, loving him and Mom.
II Cor. 5: 1-4 says, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life."
I want to be thoughtful, not necessarily sentimental, in thinking about Dad's absence this Christmas. Dad is no longer groaning, but rejoicing in his new heavenly home. Dad has put on his uniform of light, never to be shrouded by darkness again. In this I can rejoice this Christmas.
I thank God for memories of happy times. I rejoice that I felt closer to Dad in these last years than ever before in my life, that I was able to be an important part of his life.
Life happens while we make our plans. If you love someone, show them now, for you never know what day, or what Christmas even, might be their last.
Thank you God, for wonderful memories of Christmas' past. Thank you for the parents you gave me, who loved me the best they could, and that one day soon, I will see them again and never have to say goodbye again.