Friday, December 27, 2013

The Christmas season: Joy and sorrow both have their places

The Joy
I hope you have been enjoying the holidays. We had a very nice Christmas.
Christmas Eve was spent with my mother-in-law and my stepdaughter and her family. Then we had Christmas dinner with my mother and one of my brothers and his wife.
And Santa visited the Barbour household and was very generous.
Chase Bird sniffed out his stocking after I laid it under the tree Christmas morning—I think he smelled the catnip in the toys.
He dragged the stocking around. Then we helped him get his new toys out. He seemed pleased.

I received something in my stocking that I’ve never received before: a bag of coal. I thought I had been pretty good this year, but apparently . . . Santa thought otherwise.

Oh, well, there was plenty of candy in the stocking, too. And actually, the coal is really candy.

The Sorrow
The ending of the Christmas holidays always leaves me feeling a bit low. But this year I’m trying to take a different perspective.
One of my mother’s younger sisters died last Saturday morning. It was not unexpected—she had been suffering from terminal cancer. But it’s always a sobering shock to hear of the death of someone who has been in your life—your whole life.
This week a person in our community who was probably known by just about everyone died. He was a good man, a public servant who served the schools and the citizens of the county for most of his life.
So how do we make sense of sorrow in the midst of the joy that we’re “supposed” to feel this time of year?
Somehow the sorrow seems to be in direct opposition to the holidays. But maybe it’s not.
The Christmas Story, whether you take it literally or figuratively, is one of love. Grace, peace, compassion—they are all there in the story.
Other religions teach love, too. As a Christian, I happen to celebrate Christmas.
For me, Christmas is a reminder of the love that we must share if life is to hold any meaning. Loving others is acting out the love of God. It’s love that we celebrate, and it’s love that comforts.
And if Christmas is a time of remembering this love, then that love should be lived out for the rest of the year.

Maybe the festivities are drawing to a close. But the love is not.


  1. Lovely photos, Tina. I know what you mean about feeling low after Christmas, which is why I made a post today that will hopefully make people laugh. Sending you a hug.

  2. I am sorry about your Aunt, it is never an easy time expected or not. Chase Bird not only happy but gorgeous as well.

  3. So sorry for your loss Tina -- xo

  4. So sorry for your loss.
    Chase bird looks delighted with his gifts!

  5. so sorry for your loss, Tina.

    i think Christmas is so tough for the ones who have lost. we remember the good times & think about them a lot ... i know i do that every year. my mother-in-law will ask who will be at our Christmas dinner? & sadly there are not many left. they have moved on to their eternal home. i am glad for the time we shared but i really miss them. & think of them often. big big hugs. ( :

  6. and the love is all we can hope to hold all year.

  7. I was so touched that my Beloved Beasts post moved you. I'm sorry about your loss. Holidays are such a contrast of sorrow and joy.

  8. My sympathy to you for you losses. It seems that joy and sadness are both magnified in the Christmas season. I'm happy for you that you did have a good Christmas with your family.

  9. loss evokes so many different emotions, especially at christmas time!!

  10. Sorry for the losses in your family this year. May memories of good times bring you peace.

  11. What a pretty kitty. I enjoyed reading about how he enjoyed his stocking.

  12. So sorry for your losses this Christmas season. Death is a part of life and we have to accept that but, of course, sorrow is natural even at this time of year. Chase Bird looks very pleased with his gift. Glad you didn't get real coal!

  13. Oh I'm sorry for your loss too, Tina. It feels very strange, doesn't it? I try to take comfort, if the person was ill, that their suffering is now over. Hard for us, but much better for them.

    I love that pic of Chase dragging his stocking around. How very cute!

  14. What a beautiful post! I love how you ended it with your beliefs. I don't ask God for much, but one thing I often pray for is to love others the way he does. It's a slow go, but I think I'm getting there. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!!

  15. Beautiful post! It is difficult, I understand as I lost my Dad last December. Hugs to you!

    Loved the pictuyre of the cat dragging his stocking! Made me smile!!

  16. oh i am so sorry tina...sending you my hugs and prayers....and i am laughing a little about the coal you received ;) hope you have a happy new year!!

  17. Oh - Happy, Happy Catch Bird! how i enjoy these photos. What a Great Gift for a Great Cat.

    I like how you share the memory of the "Public Servant." Those memories strengthen, support, and nurture your entire community. That is a Life Celebration in itself. perhaps people will feel supported and strengthened to continue this Good Work. Perhaps, having to relinquish the "constants" we depended on in these people - teach us to Cherish the Love given every single day . . .

    Speaking of this - i am Certainly Grateful for YOU in My Life.

    Wishes for a Splendid New Year!

  18. Thinking of you, Tina. Wishing you lot's of love, peace, health and happiness for the New Year and always!!


  19. Beautiful thoughts, beautifully expressed, Tina. Christmas is such a hard time to lose one you love. I lost my dad at Christmas and I have several friends experiencing similar things this year. You always remember. That's why we must cherish every memory to keep a part of them alive, hopefully in the hearts of others, but even if it's only in our own.

    I am so disorganized I lost Lizzie's presents. Well, maybe by Twelfth Night. Magi and all!

  20. Beautifully written as always, Tina. "Maybe the festivities are drawing to a close. But the love is not." 2014 will be a great year if we can all keep this in mind. Have a wonderful weekend.

  21. Such a beautiful post, Tina; bittersweet, really. Such is life. Endings and beginnings. Happiness and sorrow. I hope 2014 will be a great year for you, full of joy.

  22. I'm very sorry for the loss that has hit you, your family, and your community. Losing folks around this time of year is especially hard. I'm glad that you also had some sweet moments during Christmas, though ... especially in that sweet cat of yours!

  23. I'm so sorry to hear of these losses. It's truly though. In the Catholic Church, the day after Christmas Day celebrates the first martyr (St. Stephen). Today, we remember the babies killed by King Herod. There's sorrow in with the joy, but you are correct - the love never ends.

  24. Joy and sorrow mixed together.......that's life. I am so sorry for your losses, Tina.


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