This was the first year I wouldn’t put up a tree or any decorations at all for my favorite holiday. I put my feelings in front of me, Christmas on the back-burner, and my family felt obliged to obey my wishes—forget Christmas altogether.
In a conversation with a friend later, she suggested I forget tradition, put away the old, and have a blue Christmas. A blue Christmas?
What was that?
“You’re feeling blue, right?” she asked. “So have a blue Christmas! Blue lights, blue ornaments, blue angel, blue everything!”
The familiar refrain of Elvis Presley’s song played through my head. The popular verses echoed my sentiments exactly.
If feeling blue meant sadness, anxiety, and endless tears rolled into one, then yeah—I felt blue. I just couldn’t wrap my head around celebrating a holiday without the one person who made it most special for me.
And if I’m honest—I found it hard to celebrate the birth of Jesus when I mourned the death of my mom.
It didn’t matter that I knew where she was spending eternity. It didn’t matter that she was the reason I knew Jesus. It mattered that I had to find hope enough to celebrate this anticipated holiday for my family. Seven pairs of eyes –my husband and our children—watched me those early days, waiting and hoping, for a sign of strength, a sign to move forward and not stay stuck in the past.
A blue Christmas.
Her favorite color matched my mood so I rolled out the paintbrushes, wood scraps, tin cans, and set up a craft table on the porch. The kids and I sat there, making one decoration after another, spelling out Merry Christmas across the emptied bean cans, transforming coffee cans into snowmen, tracing JOY down the front of some scrap wood.
We remembered the fun years before—flour covering the kitchen as we rolled out cookie dough, pumpkin rolls lining the counter to gift to friends, snowmen in every form decorating every nook and cranny.
We told funny stories and past memories, tears pouring down our faces, mixing with the paint, and making their way into our handmade décor.
I suppose it was the first step to healing that year. We continued the tradition for a few years, pushing past the boxes of decorations in the corner of the shed to retrieve the sole box of blue. Now we celebrate in any color, but we always reserve an area to remember my mom, whether it’s with a blue ornament or a special sign situated just so on the piano, or that old coffee can snowman.
Are you feeling blue this year? Maybe you’ve lost a loved one recently and the holidays don’t hold the same appeal. Maybe you, too, relate to a blue Christmas, knowing it’s not the same without that one special person. Consider a blue Christmas.
It was the first step to healing for me and might encourage you to move past the period of mourning and focus on the future of continuing the legacy your loved one left behind. Record in a journal those beautiful memories while making new ones with the people right in front of you.
The hope at Christmas is a beautiful thing and I hope, for you, that you’ll experience the healing by Jesus with time.
Author’s note: If you are experiencing feelings stronger than sadness, you may need to consider seeking help from a professional. Find a Christian counselor in your area to sort through your feelings and begin a journey to a healthier you.