I was talking to a friend recently who had received a rather tragic diagnosis about a year ago. It was just a few weeks before Christmas, and life as she knew it had been turned upside down. The tablecloth pulled out from under her, and she was left shaken but still standing. I remember looking at her from across the room at our Christmas Eve open house, with her oxygen in tow but otherwise looking completely normal and healthy, and coming to the realization that this may be her last Christmas.
Has she thought about that? I wondered to myself, pondering in my own heart the gravity and sadness of such a prospect.
The Lord's hand has been upon her this past year, and things have come full circle. She now has a clean bill of health and the hope of many, many more Christmas' to come. To Him be the glory.
Although we're trimming the same tree and hanging the same stockings by the chimney with care, it's a very different Christmas this year. For some, the cancer is gone. For others, the heartbreaking news that the cancer is back.
I was watching my youngest daughter walk around the house tonight in just her diaper, and I realized that this would be the last Christmas that she would be in those diapers. Come this time next year, and Lord willing long before that, we will officially be a diaper-free household for the first time in eight years.
This will be the last Christmas that the light will reflect off her squishy baby cheeks as she hangs up ornaments on the bottom two feet of the tree, saying, decoratin', momma? Me, helping! and proudly patting her chest. This will be the last year she will walk down the stairs in her fuzzy pink snowman jammies, eyes aglow with the magic of Christmas morning.
This will be the last Christmas that she insists on shaking her "booty" after sitting on the potty and mispronounces six as "chicken" when counting to ten. The last Christmas that her blond hair ties back in a spiky ponytail just right.
This may be the last Christmas that my oldest still believes in Santa or that my daughter cries herself to sleep when it's time for the Elf to fly back to the North Pole for good.
This will be the last Christmas that my kids will ever be 8, 6, 4 and 2.
Knowing it may be the last Christmas, would that change how you lived it? Experienced it?
Because it is.
It's the last one of its kind.
This Christmas will only come once in a lifetime. Next year, things will be a little different. Maybe a lot different. They will be a little older, maybe a little wiser.
Take notice this year, momma. Make sure you see this season for the rare opportunity that it is. Watch their little faces. Study their little fingers as they open their presents. Don't miss the wonder in their eyes or the magic in their soft whispers. Experience all the joys and memories this month offers and treasure all the precious moments with the littles that you love and hide them in your heart.
This Christmas is one-of-a-kind, much like the snowflakes we hope to see falling outside on that chilly and holy morn. Savor every last drop this month before it melts away, momma. You'll never regret it.