I write less personally these days. Either I have gained back some of that good, proper inhibition everyone has, or I have simply grown afraid. But it is Christmas, and Christmas calls for a celebration of life and the years gone by. So I will write.

As I write this, daddy is still hunched over his laptop, racing against the clock to finish his future orders before the deadline. My sister is sitting beside him, another laptop in front of her, assisting him as his clerk.

I spent the day hugging my sister’s pink star soft toy, staring at the rain, napping, and doing assignments (I have a ghost writer job now).

I am wistful.

I am remembering Christmases where we actually had a tree in our home, and everyone, including my grandpa and grandma could play a part in decorating the massive structure. Nowadays no one bothers to go to all that trouble.

There were also Christmases where we would actually have Christmas stockings, my brother and I, and we would be excited on Christmas eve to wait for Santa to drop his present in it. I have forgotten whether we were actually aware that this Santa was dad. I remember distinctly, the year we wanted tic-tacs (of all things!) for Christmas. We loved watching the orange tic-tacs turn to white on our tongues, I’m serious. We thought it was magic. What beautiful memories.

I am longing for the magic of Christmas this year, but it has not arrived.

On a certain level I know that is not true, for Christmas is about Christ’s birth, the greatest gift to earth. I have learnt and finally accepted that there is nothing, nothing in this world, really, that should take away this reason to celebrate and give thanks. Mercifully, God has enabled a piece of my heart to still sing and praise His glorious name.

But in other, more heartfelt ways, it is a painful season. A season where senses are heightened and the heart remembers what it felt, what it feels. Traumatic losses and shattered dreams. The frightening loneliness that no one penetrates. The taunting whispers in the ear that I am nothing but a wilting flower…

Still, I surprise myself. I marvel at the strength and grace He continues to give me. I am proud of the progress I have made in the way I handle sticky situations and negative emotions. I am growing in humility and the capacity to change, and I am proud of the mental and actual decisions I have made.

So what a different Christmas this is.