I am surrounded by angels, and it’s a bit discomfiting.
For three days I have pulled them from the attic…bit by little bit, so as not to tax myself over it all. But here I sit, amidst boxes and berries and angels and…I’m not feeling it.
Part of it, I think, is what the pastor said at our Hanging of the Greens service last night. Advent is not meant to be rushed through, she said. It is a slow movement from the darkness into the light.
I try playing music. These songs have been healing my soul this season.
But the music has me sitting motionless in the middle of the living room floor—listening. The dogs like this…they think a human in the floor is an invitation for kisses. I wrestle with them a bit. Throw a toy or two. It looks like Penny will be leaving us this weekend. It’s been a couple years since we have not had a canine house guest for Christmas and I am sad to let her go. I scratch behind her ears and she rolls on her back, lays her head on my lap. 
You’re a good dog, I tell her, lifting her chin. Her eyes speak love.
The boxes are still on the stairs.
I am on my back now, on this hard floor. I close my eyes and let the grief be. I know what this is all about but I wish it would leave me. Every year it’s the same and I’m tired of it.
My husband tells me that there is no feeling in the world like Christmas when you’re a child.  He says that nothing can compare to the anticipation and the wonder of waking up on Christmas morning.  I’ll never know about that.  Christmas was just another day in our house.  But I see it in the eyes of my boys. To be able to provide such joy all at once is an amazing thing. 
I sigh and roll this around in my mind.
Every year, I want it to be extra special.  I know it’s some kind of lame attempt to redeem those years. But last night, we sat together in the warm light of our living room and listened as Little Jeffrey read the first Advent devotional. We’ve never done that before. And it was—extra special.
I am out growing these boxes. I’m not sure what that means yet. But I think they joy we feel on Christmas morning is just practice, just a shadow, of the tremendous joy we will feel when we lay our eyes on Jesus for the first time. 
So I let my heart be renewed.  Right in the middle of my living room floor with dogs pestering. I ask God to give me the eyes of a child.  And that allows me to get up from the floor. And move toward the boxes. 
Oh, yes. I’m surrounded by angels.
Today I am writing from where I am and joining L.L. Barkat in searching for a sense of place. Join us? You can link up here. 
Monday is also gratitude day (isn’t everyday?). Today I am thinking of sweet blessings…
**our Jesse tree—made from the old wallpaper sample book…hung on the fridge.
**the voice of my babe, reading praises—thanks with a quivering voice.
**for reds and greens and angels abiding here.
**church greens—the hanging and the eating of them.
**my nephew…being born today.
**mom’s voice on the phone—the baby is coming!
**beauty in the mail (this is for my new nephew! thank you, ELK!)
**the grace to let go. the grace that covers.
**salty tears—tasting the grace that covers.



  1. says

    I am new to your blog… I added you just yesterday to mine. I sit here in awe that you’ve touch a deep part of me this morning. Today I will get out the decorations for Christmas… and although I absolutely love this time of year it makes me so sad. We have a complete empty nest this year. My daughter always helped me decorate the tree and this year she’s off at college 2 hours away. I’m not used to tears at this time of year~ only excitement. I can’t hardly contain the pain I’m feeling of loss~ although I know all my children are but a phone call away. I believe, it’s time to get started with the decorations… and I believe, I will try surrounding myself with angles. God bless!

  2. says

    I am only a new acquaintance here, but my heart breaks over your grief. I am praying today that whatever it’s deep root, He will restore the years the locusts have eaten and bless your heart with complete and perfect freedom in His Love. May He fill every empty or broken place in your heart and memories with beauty. May every scheme of the evil one intended to weigh down your beautiful heart be completely thwarted by your Mighty Defender. May you know Joy in this season that increases with each breath. May there never be a shadow over your holidays again.

  3. says

    I’m kind of in the same place this week, looking back at our Thanksgiving celebration, feeling the tension between loss in this world and the joy of the one to come. Think I’ll take you up on your suggestion and link up with L.L. Barkat. And I love, love, love your wallpaper Jesse tree (and feel only mildly intimidated by your artistic ability).

  4. sarah says

    I’m so sorry your family did not celebrate Christmas. To have missed out on those wonderful childhood memories – it’s very sad. I hope the memories you are building with your own family will bring a different kind of treasure to your heart.

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing the gift of HIS love so abundantly with all of us as we drift by here. You are an inspiration and I am thankful GOD brought you into my life. I love coming here!
    Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

  6. says

    I think there are few of us who don’t have at least one “ghost” in their Christmases past, it wants to be let go. Freeing that spirit allows His to come in, and the magic to be our joy.

    Loved the Jesse tree.

  7. says

    How wonderful – a new baby in your family Laura.
    I know, I think, how you feel. My experience is like your husband’s, but I always went overboard at Christmas – wanting to make it just as wonderful for my children.
    The truth is, these quieter Christmases are steeped in so much more real joy. The giving is more deliberate and thoughtful. It is a new season.
    I pray His peace and joy will fill your heart Laura, and that He will replace the hurts of the past with all things new.

  8. says

    oh such a touching moment of grace the salty tears can reveal..advent ..the slow movement is so needed by me as well. Thank you for the music link .. a new and beautiful artist to embrace. I am SO happy that the birds will dance and fly for your new one..

  9. says

    This is really beautiful and heartfelt, Laura. It speaks to me — the part about loss. Different than your story, but still the same in many ways. Grief, loss, love, joy, expecting.

    My house is still dressed for fall — yikes! But I like your pastor’s reminder that Advent is about approaching it, Him, slowly. Yes, that is good.

  10. says

    Laura, I love your angel photo, love your words, love your transparent heart! Praying the God of wonder would surround you with His presence of grace and glory as you quietly seek Him in this season. Wishing I could reach through the web and give you a hug.

  11. says

    Loved the photo, too. The thought of being surrounded by angels is wondrous, if they are real. But I’m sure if they’re out of the attic or a box marked Christmas, the wondrous turns to wonder–ing where do I put all these things.

    I think I’ve found it was more exciting to be the child in anticipation than the adult in creating the wonder–until it is all done! Then the wonder and joy abound.

    May you find joy in your midst, Laura, as you find a place for each of your season’s markings.

    I posted something on Advent as well today. Stop by if you get a chance.


  12. says

    yeah..well, christmas was okay. but, what was really exciting to me was the first day that was warm enough that my mom would let me play outside barefoot … ahhhh. now there is no feeling in the world like THAT.

    i have spent several years now, all bent out of shape about of the commercialism. but, that seems to be on hold this year, for some reason…i don’t know why, but i’m just not goin’ there.

    good post.

  13. says

    Beautiful! I love how you began and ended being surrounded. And I am glad you were able to get still in the middle and let God wash his healing love over you. I so love your stories of the heart. Blessings, friend.

  14. says

    I have a collection of angels that touch my heart each Christmas … a reminder that we are always watched over, even in those times we feel forsaken and alone.

  15. says

    Laura – This post is so beautifully haunting. That you are redeeming your past for your children is a beautiful Christmas gift.

    I’m linking up to this post on my blog tomorrow . . . others need to see this love of yours.

    Blessings, friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *