Dear family and friends,
We are a month into our second year of living life without our Jud Bud and also well into the Christmas season. The deep, ever-present ache over losing our little man continues to be the most prominent emotion in our hearts, but we are becoming more adept at living with it. However, these holidays are actually proving to be more difficult than the previous year.
At this time last December our minds and hearts were swirling with so much commotion and pure shock over losing Judson that we actually seemed to float through the holidays in a daze. Furthermore, Jessie was so young that she was somewhat indifferent to the festivities, and didn’t require holiday cheer from us.
Now, as the excitement of the season whirls around us, the gnawing sorrow in our souls makes it extremely hard to get wrapped up in the merriment. It is as if most people around us are enthusiastically walking around with a big, bright, colorful holiday balloon, but our balloon burst, and we’re left standing there holding a string tied to a fizzled, ruptured, piece of rubber.
That being said, Jessie gives us reason to push ourselves—to engage the season through the eyes of a beautiful two year old girl who is herself holding a fresh, new balloon that is just beginning to fill. Without her, I’m not sure we would find the energy to decorate, or buy gifts, or go to Christmas events. She is a wonderful reason to press into the pain and engage the holidays.
Jessie trimming Judson’s special Christmas tree.
The other reason to push ourselves is the actual reason for Christmas—the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is only because Emmanuel has come that we have hope. In fact, we desire Christ-filled celebration and worship to flow freely from our hearts even when much of the associated festivities lack luster for us now.
We also face Judson’s fourth birthday on Christmas Eve. Oh, what a memorable Christmas that was in 2004! But, instead of watching our little man blow out his four candles, we are relegated to celebrating his life by decorating a grave. Yet, even though there will be no cupcakes or birthday gifts torn open by an enthusiastic four year old, it will certainly be a day of honoring the blessing that graced our lives and continues to touch us every day.
Please check out Judson’s “In Memoriam” page where we have posted three new videos that people (strangers) have recently made in honor of our beloved boy.
As we are in the final weeks of the year 2008, a year of profound brokenness, grief, sorrow, and sadness for us, we also stand as a testimony to God’s faithfulness in severe pain. We have grown in our understanding of His love, we have been touched by His grace anew, and our confidence to trust our Heavenly Father has increased.
It is our hope that if you have been following our story and do not personally know the God we speak of, the One who sent His own Son to be born as a baby and serve as an offering for each of our broken lives, that you might give your heart and life to Him this Christmas.
Much love and Merry Christmas,
Christina (on behalf of Drake too)
Photo courtesy of Jenny McMasters Photography.