To my kids, around Christmas

img_3637I’ve previously said that I love Christmas.  Well, as it turns out, I’m really emotional about it this year, and if you want to cry with me, then read on, because this is to my awesome children.

Kids, right now you only know that I am sick, and getting weak.  That’s okay, you don’t need to know more than that right now.  What I want you to remember, for all your lives, is that I love you, and you bring so much joy and completeness into my life. If ever anyone tells you that kids aren’t a joy, don’t listen to them.

I wish I could describe to you the feeling I get around Christmas.  The excitement of the day, or the family gathering, or seeing the happiness on your faces when you open presents, and the hugs, always the hugs!  I love seeing the lights reflect in your eyes while you tell me about something.  I love the excitement you share when you are happy, and I love that a Catholic holiday can bring this joy out, as I hope it will every year.

I’m conflicted because I don’t know if I will miss it, or that I am sad because you will miss me in the future.  I will be sharing it with you, alive or otherwise, but will you be joyful?  ‘I hope this time is always a joyous time, as it always has been for me, and that maybe you will remember how much I loved Christmas time when I’m not here.

They say there is no sadness in heaven.  I don’t believe them, because I am sad that I will not be with you, physically present, and we are not together.  My children, I am not a whole man without you by my side.  If I get to heaven, I will be waiting for you, and praying for you all the time, and with you through every step.  My sadness is that I can’t be beside you.

A father’s job isn’t easy.  I have to discipline you, help you learn right from wrong, and sometimes I am the bad guy.  It’s because I love you that I hold you to a higher standard, why we do things that other people don’t, why we educate you in the faith.  I don’t think you will understand until you have the opportunity to educate someone yourself.  But the other part of it is, we never want you to fail, and we always will be there for you, even if it is with tough love.  Well, we always WANT to be there for you.  I will not have the chance, at least not in the traditional sense.

Kids, I want you to remember Christmas as I do, a wondrous Silent Night, where two thousand years ago a great thing happened, so great indeed that the angels themselves had to come down and sing out their joy.  It is not a time for melancholy or grumpiness about food or visiting different families or what you didn’t get for Christmas or how much you got for others and how ungrateful you think they are.  No, it’s the time of great Joy.  The lights, that I love, help us to focus.  The cold, the darkness and the quiet also.

I can’t express in words that which I feel.  I wish I could have you all understand how much I love you, and how sorry I am that I can’t force you to do all my traditions!  I will try to impress on you now how wonderful this season is, how Joyful, and the true reason for the season.  I tried to show it, in the letters from Father Christmas, in your presents, in your daily life.  I love you, and I pray that every Christmas in your life will resound with that knowledge, and it will spread the Joy that is Christmas even more!

14 thoughts on “To my kids, around Christmas”

  1. Beautiful post. We have never met, but you know my sister, Laurie Short. I want you to know that you are in my prayers, and in a special way every Monday during my Adoration hour. Enjoy the lights and love of the season!

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  2. Joe I’ve seen you and your family at Mass. I know most of your sisters. Jennifer is a person I consider a good friend. Thank you for sharing this. Not just for your children but to all of us as well. I can’t even begin to understand how you feel. Very beautifully written, with lots of love and joy for your children. I pray for you a lot as well as your wife and children. God Bless you Joe and I hope you enjoy your season. Connie

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  3. What a wonderful dad you are!I remember our lunches and talks about life and faith.I remember our talk about how to ask Mel out for coffee.I remember so many wonderful conversations that we had.What a beautiful soul you are my friend.Our prayers are with you and we hold you so very close to our hearts.

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  4. Joe, we’ve been following your updates on the blog through Fuzzy’s shares – I wanted to comment on this post in particular, because as a child of a father who also LOVED Christmas but has since gone on to Heaven, Christmas is even more special to me now that he’s not around. Yes, it’s a heavy cross to be without him during a season that meant so much to him. At first everything about Christmas brought more sorrow than joy, but the joy was still there – Baby Jesus loved on us a LOT that first Christmas. He knew our pain, and it was comforting to know that Dad was now spending his Christmas with HIM. After the initial shock of our first Christmas without Dad, subsequent Christmas seasons have become a time of year when I feel his presence with me in a more tangible way. The joy and awe he shared with me as a child, I now get to share with my own children, and in that, he lives on in a special way.
    It sounds like you have already given your sweet children a similar experience of joy and wonder in years past, and I KNOW that no matter what happens in Christmases future, that will never, ever leave them. You are a great father, Joe!
    We pray for you all every day – wishing you a peaceful Advent and a wonderful and joyous Christmas!!!

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  5. Thank you for that post, Joe, though I know it wasn’t meant for us. I hope you enjoy this Christmas as much as you have all the ones that came before it.
    Pax.

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