The Tradition of Christmas Tears

Christmas tears are as much a part of my tradition as vintage decorations, dipping things in almond bark, homemade peanut butter cups, Gramma’s rolled out sugar cookies, and Alice’s Spritz cookies.

Christmas is a special time with an aura of joy, giving, family, love, gratitude, and faith spilling over.  It’s also a time when tears can spill over, mingling that joy with sorrow. Tears aren’t always bad, they can be a healthy acceptance of the Scriptural truth that suffering and joy walk hand in hand in life.

 

Christmas Tears 2

I first experienced Christmas sorrow as a young girl when I found my Mom crying quietly in a corner.  Enthralled with the treats, lights, decoration,  and PRESENTS, I couldn’t imagine any reason to cry during the whole month of December.  Our Christmases were magical, with Mom and Dad’s wonderful fingers baking, crafting, decorating, shopping, and wrapping.

She simply explained that she missed her parents.  Her Dad was aging quickly, arthritis and years of working outdoor construction in North Dakota  had changed her strapping, strong father, into a frail man tucked inside a woolen blanket.

I’ve always been thankful she shared that with me, because I carried that understanding with me the rest of my life. Years later, I was sitting in my kitchen alone, listening to the bustle of my lively bunch of kids, but quietly crying because I missed my parents and my siblings. I fully understood my Mom’s heart.

Christmas tears come for a variety of reasons.

We cry for those that have passed on and will never again celebrate with us.

We cry for those that live too far away to join us.

We cry when present fiery trials keep us from totally rejoicing in the festivities.

The pain can be so deep we may not even want to celebrate the holiday.  As believers, we have to cling to this reality – we really aren’t celebrating a holiday, we are celebrating a PERSON. Our Savior, Immanuel, which means “God with us.”

He is DAILY our Immanuel.  He is DAILY our Savior.  He is daily our Ever-present Help, our Shield, Defender, Fortress, Rock, Redeemer, Good Shepherd…His Names are as infinite as His love, grace, and mercy.

If you are celebrating this holiday season with tears, let them be tears of faith and surrender to the One who is longing to work out everything in your life for good. Romans 8:28 is not a pat answer, it is a solid promise.

This Christmas, I will shed a few tears for our adventurous son, Daniel, on a mission visit in Bolivia, who, manlike, won’t be shedding any tears for me, and because of lack of available technology,  probably won’t be in touch.

I’ve already shed a few tears for child #7  lost to miscarriage four years, who would have been tearing into packages, eating too many cookies, and sitting on everyone’s lap.

And, this year I will shed a few tears for married daughter, Jana,  and her two little ones recently moved to California and  celebrating their first Christmas without us.

I wonder, as she begins her own family’s Christmas traditions, if Christmas tears will be a part of her holidays.

 

2014 Christmas Tears Update:

This year I added the image above made from a picture of an ornament on my Uncle Huck’s Christmas tree last year, when he was trying to celebrate his first Christmas without his beautiful bride of over 50 years, Aunt Jan, and his mother-in-law, my Gramma Florence. Gramma was a crafter and I remember her showing me how to make these adorable felt ornaments as a child.

Two of our children will be celebrating with their families states away, the Innocent Man will be in a stark prison cell, and my parents will be basking in the sun in Arizona. A few tears will mingle in our joyous celebration.

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14 Responses to The Tradition of Christmas Tears

  1. The Queen of Brussels Sprouts December 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    That is so beautifully put! Thank you for sharing with me (the world). Sometimes, joy and sorrow really do go hand in hand.

  2. The Queen of Brussels Sprouts December 21, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    That is so beautifully put! Thank you for sharing with me (the world). Sometimes, joy and sorrow really do go hand in hand.

  3. Arlen December 22, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    This is awesome Mindy! Perfect in my situation this year. Miss you and Scott!!

  4. Arlen December 22, 2010 at 1:10 am #

    This is awesome Mindy! Perfect in my situation this year. Miss you and Scott!!

  5. Kimmie December 22, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    sending a hug, which doesn't take away tears, but tells you that I care about you and am praying for your tears.xoxoKimmiemama to 8one homemade and 7 adopted

  6. Kimmie December 22, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    sending a hug, which doesn't take away tears, but tells you that I care about you and am praying for your tears.xoxoKimmiemama to 8one homemade and 7 adopted

  7. Joyfull December 22, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    Hugs are coming from here too! What a beautiful thought, one I understand some from missing some..Christmas tears among the many joys. Powerful reminders.

  8. Joyfull December 22, 2010 at 2:16 am #

    Hugs are coming from here too! What a beautiful thought, one I understand some from missing some..Christmas tears among the many joys. Powerful reminders.

  9. Jeanne December 22, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    There are a few tears here this December as well.

  10. Jeanne December 22, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    There are a few tears here this December as well.

  11. Melissa December 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    What a good, and somewhat unexpected post. Thanks for sharing those personal things which so many keep to themselves. <3

  12. Melissa December 22, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    What a good, and somewhat unexpected post. Thanks for sharing those personal things which so many keep to themselves. <3

  13. Michael and Maureen Lytle December 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Thanks, Mindy. I echo what Jeanne said, there will be a few tears in this house this December as well. Beautifully written and a thoughtful reminder that we don't celebrat a holiday, but a Savior. Love,Maureen

  14. Michael and Maureen Lytle December 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Thanks, Mindy. I echo what Jeanne said, there will be a few tears in this house this December as well. Beautifully written and a thoughtful reminder that we don't celebrat a holiday, but a Savior. Love,Maureen

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