A Different Kind of Christmas

While most people are wrapping up their final day of work before Christmas vacation or finishing their shopping & baking or preparing for travel or the arrival of the family--our crew is enjoying the last little bit of glow from the Christmas tree and mantle lights before we say goodbye to Christmas 2019.

This year, we've had a different kind of Christmas. Some of it by design and some of it by necessity. All of it has been good for our souls.
You see, we count Christmases differently now. Instead of baby's first Christmas or the 11th Christmas for Jason & I, we now say things like "our first Christmas without grandpa and Uncle Les" or "our second Christmas without Adrian" or "our fifth Christmas without Jake."

I'm sure to many of you it sounds sad and a little morbid, but it's not like that for us as much as you might think. We've learned to celebrate the wins and bittersweet moments. We are still learning to take advantage of little pockets of joy, even if they come with a bit of grief.

Last Thursday, Jason asked if he could give me one of my Christmas presents (keep in mind, I'd already opened one, and he is HORRIBLE at waiting to give people gifts he has gotten for them) to which I replied, "Only if I can give you one too." Then we quickly decided that if we were going to open a gift early, the kids should too, and so the tale of the very early Christmas wrote itself.

An hour later, we were all enjoying EVERY SINGLE gift we'd received from one another and taking in a very deep breath realizing that the pressure was off. We'd done it. We had all made it through Christmas.

Something about getting through the traditional milestone of opening presents gave us all a sense of relief. It was as though we'd all been holding our breath, waiting, and bracing ourselves for either the sadness of missing those we loved or the guilt of actually enjoying the holiday without them here. Somehow, our impromptu gift exchange made it possible to enjoy watching each other open things they'd been hoping for or relishing the look of surprise on their faces when they opened something they never even considered getting. And when it was all said and done, both kids went back to talking to friends on the phone or playing on the Xbox, and Jason and I just sat, equally thankful for the moment and thankful that it was over.

What's the point of all of this? Why should our untraditional holiday mean anything to you?

Well, maybe it shouldn't. But if it does, I'd be willing to bet that it is because you too have experienced the stress & strain of navigating the holiday season with a heaviness on your heart. Maybe you've also lost people you love this year. Perhaps you've recently gone through a divorce, or it's your first Christmas with an empty nest. Maybe you are still waiting for God to bring you a partner or fill your nest with little ones.
Maybe you are just over the harsh hustle and pressure of a social-media-perfect season.

Here's what I have to offer you: break the mold. Do something different this year. Give yourself a break and stop trying to prove that you are okay by pushing yourself to the breaking point. Different doesn't mean bad. Different doesn't mean failure. It certainly doesn't mean that you can't enjoy it.

Different may be precisely what your soul needs.

Brandi Cortes-Hickson

Wife, mom, teacher, writer, Jesus-loving Christian and digital content coordinator for Pneuma Life Church and #GirlGang.

Related Posts