Joy and Peace

A large number of the people who walk into my office during the holidays don’t look forward to the holiday season.  Usually the holidays bring up memories of a loved one who has passed away.  The void left by their loss hurts and the frequent reminders of Christmas smothers the individual in grief.  Typically their holiday memories always start positive, but within seconds they spiral downward once the individual remembers the loved one that has passed away.  I often hear, I wish I could close my eyes and wake up in January.  I’m fortunate that I haven’t experienced that type of void.  But I can’t help but be aware of the thought that in the future, I may be the void my family experiences.  Every Thanksgiving and Christmas I think, will this be my last Christmas?  And even if it is, I plan on enjoying every moment.  I love this time of year.  I’m a big kid counting down to Christmas just like my kids.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family in Newport, Rhode Island.  It was great visiting family and watching my daughters play with my brother’s daughter.  After Thanksgiving we came home and set up our Christmas tree and decorations.  Anabel woke up the next day, ran to the tree, and was upset that Santa hadn’t visited.  I tried to explain to her that Santa wasn’t coming until next month.  But again the next morning when she woke up, she ran to the tree expecting presents and experienced the same let down.  I tried my best not to laugh as she looked at me through her tears, and explained to her that Santa was coming next month.  I was relieved when December rolled around because at least now we could count down to Christmas using an advent calendar.

Anabel turned four in September and I believe this is one of the best Christmas ages. Anabel is so excited about Christmas, she can’t sleep at night.  She has been falling asleep around eleven o’clock every night because she can’t stop thinking about Christmas.  All of her thoughts are consumed with Christmas.  She constantly wants to see pictures of herself or her sister sitting on Santa’s lap.  At night I often I find her talking to different ornaments on the Christmas tree. On the way to daycare last week, she told me, “Dad I like you, but I love presents” (I know I can’t compete with Barbie, but at least she likes me).  Her mindset is contagious and I love it.  I wish I could bottle it up and give it away.  

My faith has also filled my heart with joy and peace.  This joy and peace leads me to meditate more on the birth of Jesus and what his birth means to me.  Through all my joyful Christmas experiences, I understand how a loss of a loved one can turn joy to pain.  Please hold those who struggle during the holidays in your prayers and thoughts.  May you experience joy and peace in your heart this season and may it last throughout the new year.    

This past weekend I went to Philadelphia with Matt Leslie and his daughter Eliza to attend our annual father/daughter Eagles game. (Kirk, you and your girls were missed. Like every year, next year will be the Eagles year)  Despite the Eagles loss, it was a great weekend.  I laugh to myself when I think of the two people I channel for inspiration…Jesus and Rocky


Katie and I in front of the Rocky statue.

Here we are running up the steps.  A boy began playing the Rocky theme song while we ran up the steps.


Eliza, Katie and I after running up the Rocky steps.



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