I have been thinking about Christmas for a few months now and dreading going through the holiday with the prospect of Arthur not being with us. The holidays leading up to Christmas, while I was grieving the future we would not get with him here, he was safe and secure in my belly and we could make memories, taking every little moment we could to do what we would have wanted to do in a lifetime with him. When I thought about Christmas, he was most likely not going to be with us and I had no idea how I was going to get through it other than hiding away just waiting for it to pass over me. The only thing I thought would help us get through it was trying to make it a special time for Adele.
Now we are here on the other side, the side of life where Arthur is no longer with us. I’m tired. I’m weary. I’m achy from the months of carrying him, both physically and emotionally. His time with us was full and amazing, but the adrenaline from those days has worn off. I’m apathetic and having a hard time making decisions on little things. I’m thankful for sleep, but wishing I could be up multiple times at night feeding my baby. When Adele sees the blue and white blanket on our bed and says “Baby Arfur’s blanket”, tears come every time. I am sad I won’t get to see their sibling relationship this side of heaven. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about him. I just flat out miss that sweet and peaceful little guy so much.
I have read up some on dealing with grief at the holidays recently and a few sources have said incorporating your loved one in some way in your holiday traditions can be helpful in the healing process and make it more bearable. So last week, I began to think about how we could include Arthur in our Christmas. Adele is just over a year and a half, and as a young family we are trying to establish meaningful traditions to do at this special holiday, particularly ones that point each of us to Jesus and help us be more outward-focused, not just on ourselves. We somehow managed to get Christmas decorations up in our house this year (thanks to Arthur for sticking around through his due date). At both my family’s and Artie’s family’s houses, there are stockings for everyone. I didn’t have any for our house, but it’s something I’ve wanted to get for our little family. Thinking about getting stockings for our family has brought lots of questions: Should I get one for Arthur? Probably. We love him so much and he’s a part of our family. But wouldn’t it be depressing having a stocking up for him every year while everyone else has little gifts and goodies in their stockings? Maybe I shouldn’t get one then. But it doesn’t feel right to not include him. If I got him a stocking, what could we put in it and how could we use it?
This is what came to mind: Arthur’s Christmas Blessing Stocking.
As soon as I thought of it, I felt a renewed sense of purpose for the holiday. The mommy in me had something to prepare for him and a tradition we could start to honor his life and the impact he has had on us. While it still hasn’t been fully thought through yet, the idea is that the things put in his stocking are things that can be a blessing to others. Some immediate ideas that came to mind were little toys that could be donated in his name, yarn to donate for baby hats and blankets to be made for families in need, and monetary gifts that could be used to donate to someone in need. Last week I ordered a special stocking with his name embroidered on it, and it arrived just a few days before Christmas. I can’t wait to see where this Christmas takes us with it and who will be blessed because of it. While nothing can replace his presence here with us, this feels like the perfect way to honor his place in our family. Although his life here on earth was brief, he blessed and enriched mine in more ways than I could have imagined and hoped for.
And while my heart hurts so much, what you are getting to celebrate with Jesus in person, Arthur, is something that makes me incredibly happy to think about. I can’t wait to join you in that celebration someday. Merry Christmas, sweet boy!
And thank you, Jesus, for humbling yourself, not counting your equality with God a thing to hold onto, but becoming a servant to those you will save by coming to earth as a child, being obedient to the Father’s will, even to the point of death, one you didn’t deserve, on a cross. You are worthy to be worshipped and praised! What a Savior you are!