(One commenter will be chosen to WIN a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotionals for Tough Times)
By Karen Asire
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your pres- ence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
As the children excitedly opened the box of Christmas ornaments and began hanging them on the tree, I struggled to keep back the tears. I had dreaded this moment, keenlyaware of the painful memories it would bring back. In some ways, it seemed like just yesterday that we had packed away the Christmas decorations and, in other ways, it was more like an eternity. The past year had certainly brought many changes to our lives. It was now four months since my husband announced he was leaving, and a divorce loomed in the coming year. The hurt was almost unbearable, but with three young children, I hid my tears as often as possible and kept going. Today was one of those days when the tears would have to wait until after they were asleep. As they continued to decorate the tree, I secretly set aside several ornaments, including one that said
“Our First Christmas Together.” Several days later, a knock was heard at the door. As I opened it, our neighbor handed me an ornament. “We’ve hung this ornament on our tree for several years, but this year we wanted you to have it for your tree,” she said. I glanced at the beautiful gold ornament and was surprised to see it spelled the word JOY. I thanked her and hung the ornament on our tree.
As I stood back and looked at the tree, all the other ornaments seemed to fade into the background, and all I saw was the shimmer- ing gold of the JOY ornament. The tears began to fall as I silently thanked God for this reminder. In the midst of grief and heartache, He promises to be with us. God’s presence brings a joy that circum- stances cannot take away. Although several ornaments were missing from our tree that year, I realized they would be replaced with new ones. Each ornament would come with a new memory, and the pain of the past would gradually fade.
Many Christmases have passed since that year. God has truly brought much joy into my life. There have been other heartaches along the way, but each year the JOY ornament hangs on our Christmas tree as a reminder of God’s unfailing love.
From the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times by Susan M. Heim & Karen C. Talcott. Copyright 2011by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. Published by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. Chicken Soup for the Soul is a registered trademark of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I know tough times…I lost my precious husband of 24 years in Oct this year so Christmas was so hard for me and my kids….He was the bond of the family….He always knew what to say….His name was Tom but I called him Tommy….He was the love of our life and his death was unexpected…It is so hard for our 13 year old daughter, Shaelee….Her and her dad were very close…I have made a blog for Tommy so the world can see what a great and loving person he was and still is…www.tommyelmoretheloveofourlife.blogspot.com I hope you visit it….
On Christmas we felt his presence as we gathered around the Christmas tree and all day long he was there….but he stays beside of us everyday lending us his hand….
We love you Tommy forever……..
Your loving wife and kids,
Melinda, Shaelee, and Erik
That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.
Melinda, what a beautiful tribute to your dear Tommy. I pray God’s comfort and peace as you travel this journey you didn’t choose.
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