a lovely story

driving through O'Fallon, Missouri

I have a lovely story to share with you. I thought about sharing it earlier, but honestly I needed time to process it on my own...

On Christmas day Chris and I made our rounds. Since we limited this Christmas to visiting just my side of the family, we had only 4 destinations to hit instead of 9 (like that one time). We awoke Christmas morning at my Dad's, drove 5 minutes to my Mom's, and after opening gifts there traveled to St. Louis to my Papa's.

It was a sad Christmas because Nana was gone. Our first Christmas without her. We all noticed. My momma made a wonderful dinner for the 8 of us. I made desserts. (Lord help me with my cooking so that one day I may cook as tastefully as my momma and Nana).

After dinner we all relaxed. The boys laid in front of the tv watching a basketball game. I zoned out so I began wandering through the house that is more home than most of the homes I lived in.

I usually do this when I visit my Papa. I don't take anything without his permission, but I love sifting through her notes, recipes, pictures, newspaper clippings, bible study books. I love reading her nana script and trying to make sense of the thoughts she was thinking when she wrote the things she did. Sometimes I'll run across something that she wrote more recently, like her grocery store list written days before she went into the hospital. Other times I'll find things from years ago, from before my time.

On this Christmas night I was on the ground in her craft room shuffling through a stack of papers on the bottom of her bookshelf. There were many things I found that night, like a few good recipes I would like to try out and some sweet emails from her sisters. After shuffling through most of the stack I came to one piece of paper at the end titled "My First Christmas in Heaven."

It looked a bit worn. It had probably been printed out on a computer. As I glanced through it, I immediately noticed there was a smudge in the ink from what was probably a tear. I imagined my dear Nana holding that same exact paper reading through it as tears gently fell. Was it something given to her years before when her sister passed away? I imagine someone showed it to her and my Nana found it dear to her heart and decided to keep it. Slowly I began to read and most definitely the tears did fall.

This is the poem:

My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,
with tiny lights, like heaven's stars, reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away your tears,
for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear, but
the sounds on earth can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,
for it's beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, the deep pain in your hearts,
but I'm not so far away, we really aren't apart.
Be happy for me, loved ones. You know I hold you dear.
Be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

A special gift, I send you, from my heavenly home above,
I send you each a memory of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold,
Love was so important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love one another as our Father said to do,
and He will pour His love and blessings upon each one of you.

So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear,
remember, I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year!

After making my own tear smudges, I handed the poem to my mom who after making her tear smudges handed it to my Papa. It is safe to say that we were all very touched. It was such a perfect find on a Christmas night for us to have peace in her absence.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you Nana.

Pictures from Papa's icy garden home:

p.s. He still feeds the birds.


Laurie Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurie Sue said...

I am so thankful that NaNa continues to leave us little reminders that she is with us, watching over us, as we struggle through our grief. Finding that poem, my sweet Aimee, was the most wonderful Christmas gift (although I received many many many wonderful gifts this year). Thank you for sharing our story in your beautiful fashion. I miss her so incredibly, but you are that put my grief into words. . .

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