It is true what they say about holidays being difficult after loss. This Christmas was good in so many ways and hard in so many others. I think Christmas Eve was the hardest for me. We do most of our traditional things on Christmas Eve.
We had a wonderful day as a family and then headed to my parent's house for Christmas Eve dinner with all my family that was in town. Nights in general are my weakest times of day and that night I was especially missing Camille.
I wished I could have seen her discover Christmas. This would have been the first Christmas she could have tortured the Christmas tree ornaments and tried to unwrap the presents too early. It is the first Christmas she would have wondered at all the lights and joyed in the sweets and treats.
By the time we were ready to leave my parent's home, I was having a hard time keeping my emotions in check. We went from there to the cemetery to visit Camille's resting place. I think all five of us felt the sorrow of missing the littlest member of our family at the cemetery. We cried and hugged and sang Christmas carols to Camille. Then the girls sang her lullaby to her.
We had a very sweet experience there learning the true meaning of Christmas and seeing it shine through our three year old daughter. But, I will write that story up another time after it has more time to steep into my soul.
Christmas Day was a fun day. I tried to let all my sorrow out the night before so that we could fill the Christmas day with joy. For the most part that worked well. I think the thing that helped the most was focusing on the Savior. Christmas Eve late I felt the Spirit of the Lord fill my heart with the true joy of all that the Savior's birth promised. It turned the tide in my heart and helped me enjoy the greatest gift of the season, the Savior himself.
Before that I had been wondering how there could ever be compensation for such incredible pain and sorrow. By Christmas afternoon I was walking by myself to meet my sisters and mother for a movie and thinking, "You know, when I meet the Savior face to face, none of this pain or sorrow will matter anymore. His love will so fill me that I will not remember this great ache any longer. No matter how long the pain lasts here, it will be gone in an instant when I am with Christ again. The only thing that will matter will be how well I endured the trials I encountered in this life. I will either feel peace or shame depending on how I endured."
The thought reminded me of my favorite part of the video "The Testaments." This is a video that played in a theatre across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City for a long time and is now available on DVD. It was produced by the LDS Church and portrays the events that occurred on the American continent at the end of Savior's ministry, during and after his death.
The story is told from the point of view of a fictional family living in the Americas at this time. The father is a believer and saw the sign of the Savior's birth. The son was not alive to see this sign and struggles to believe as his father does.
My favorite scene is the very last scene. It is after the world is shaken and tormented by nature during the crucifixion. There have been 3 days of total darkness after about 3 hours fires and earthquakes and all sorts of destruction. Some time shortly after that the Savior comes to visit these people.
My favorite scene is the father's face when he meets the Savior. After all the suffering and loss and persecution he has faced. After holding tight to his faith when the world told him to let it go, there he stands face to face with the Son of God. His face is what I imagine my face will be.
I highly recommend watching this video. I know you can order the DVD online through lds.org but you can also view it online at YouTube. It is split into 7 parts there. HERE is the link to the 7 parts. I think I will watch the DVD again tomorrow with the kids.
So here is to enduring well with the glorious hope of a better world to come. May we continue to feel the hope the Savior's birth brings to the world throughout the year.