This will be the first Christmas without my dad.
My sisters, my mom and I have all been experiencing a range of emotions these past few weeks as we lead up to a holiday where we not only celebrate Christ's birth, but also cherish many memories of times with our family.
My Dad liked to keep the focus on Jesus at Christmas, but he did buy each of us 4 girls a gift just from him. I can't remember each and every one but it was usually a practical gift like an alarm clock or a tool set but it was obvious he had put some time and thought into picking out just the right gift.
The emotions of missing someone who is no longer here to celebrate holidays or just live everyday life with, are at times overpowering and unpredictable. Such was the case today when my mom and I took Nadia and the dogs for a walk.
It is still warm for December 23rd, but certainly not the time of year to expect to see a butterfly flying around. Sure enough, there it was, gracefully flying around ahead of us...a beautiful yellow butterfly.
I pointed it out to my mom and then I burst into tears. My dad's favorite color is yellow, so when I saw that butterfly I KNEW that God sent this butterfly as a thoughtful gift to remind us that while we may not have our dad here in person this year, we still have the many memories of Christmases with him as well as the other times spent together as a family.
These bittersweet moments are to be expected as we walk down the path of grief, and even though seeing that butterfly brought out a lot of emotions that had been simmering under the surface, I am thankful that we serve a God who is willing to take the time to send a sign to remind us how much He cares. He loves us more than we will ever begin to imagine.
Some will say that the yellow butterfly was just a coincidence, but I know in my heart that the God who could part the Red Sea and feed the 5,000 with just a few fish and some bread, can most certainly send a butterfly to spiritually "hug" those who are hurting.
We miss you so very much Dad!
It just won't be the same without you.
For all of you who are also spending your first Christmas missing a loved one, our prayers are with you!
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3,4