Monday, December 23, 2013

when christmas invades

To be honest, I thought that all the what-ifs and the should-haves would swallow me up this holiday season.  I had already decided that there would be no listening to Christmas music, smiling at Christmas cards or placing our nativity scene on the shelf.  Christmas would come and go, and I would be swallowed up with it and spit out into the new year. 

Losing anything is really hard, especially when the world around you is rejoicing and skipping and singing fa-la-la-la-la.  Miscarrying our first baby, and now our second -- that has been harder than I could ever imagine.  This was going to be the week that announcements would flood our loved ones' mailboxes and we'd just be moving into what the world considers to be the safe part of a pregnancy {as if there is such a thing}.  The world around us would rejoice, and we would rejoice along with them.  We would offer prayers of thanksgiving to the bearded God-man for the little life squirming around inside of me. 

But none of that will happen this year.  And some days, the what-ifs and the should-haves and even the have-nots do swallow me up.  I stay in bed and neglect to eat or turn any of the lights on.  This is an inescapable part of what it means to grieve, and I am okay with that.  

But on days like yesterday, when I was sure I could never-in-a-thousand-years celebrate Christmas {or anything remotely joyous} this year, 

we hosted a Christmas party.

Eight of the boys from our neighborhood middle-school bible study flooded our little city row house and we rejoiced.

We made gingerbread houses {and insanely creative gingerbread football stadiums},



fought over giant whoopie cushions and candy and headphones during a white elephant gift exchange,


snapped hilarious photos,


ate tons of red-and-green M&M cookies, 

and speculated about whether or not these lumps of coal are really coal at all.

Christmas invaded our little city row house yesterday and it didn't swallow me up.  

It made me laugh, and smile, and feel really thankful for the life that we have.  

It did not take away the pain of losing our babies {because nothing can do that},

but it did help me to see that there can be joy in the midst of suffering;

that something happens when you put up the lights, embrace what makes you most afraid, 
and just live.

So, here's to the living and the rejoicing and yes, 

here's to the kind of Christmas that invades.


  1. Great stuff Shelly! That's what I love about Christmas. Jesus came in to a cold dark world and brought life, joy, and beauty to it as He has brought into your life!
    How have you been? What city are you living in? Sounds like you're doing what my parents did in DC living in a row house (to this day) and always having inner city kids over, which has pretty much been my life growing up. Anyway, inbox me on Facebook and let me know what you've been up to. God bless


    1. Hi, Bonnie! Thank you for reading and commenting. It has been a while! I am living in Baltimore now, which is where I am originally from. That is so cool about your parents in DC and your childhood. I imagine you have a lot of amazing stories from growing up in the city ministry lifestyle. Merry Christmas! And thanks again for commenting!

  2. Beautiful! What a joyous day. Aren't those smiles wonderful? So glad the joy of the season is finding you. I totally understand the bittersweet in it all. Hope your Christmas day is full of love.

    1. hey sarah -- thanks for reading! It is very bittersweet. Thanks for the love!

  3. Hi Shelly, I found your blog from the Miscarriage forum on BabyCenter, and I just wanted to thank you for this post. I had a miscarriage one month ago, at 9 weeks, and I knew Christmas would be tough. Your post was a good reminder to get outside of myself when I have the opportunity to do so. All the best to you and your family in 2014!

    1. Lindsay, I'm so sorry for your loss. As I'm sure you know, the holidays {and most other days!} can really be tough. To be honest, I'm surprised that this post came out of me this season, but I'm thankful it did.
      I hope yesterday was okay for you -- as okay as it can be.
      Thanks for reading.