This is the day of the year I miss Jim the most. We celebrated our Christmas together on Christmas Eve. And, for me, what made it special was readings.
Jim started it out every Christmas Eve with "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed...."
From there, he moved to Francis P. Church's classic, "Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus," although I read the opening letter. "Dear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says 'If you see it in The Sun it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? Virginia O'Hanlon."
And, I ended our readings before we began opening presents reading, and crying over, "One dollar and eighty-seven cents....," O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi." Jim always said it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't cry over that piece.
At one point early in O.Henry's story, it says, "Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating."
I've been very lucky. In my life, smiles predominate. But, there are those moments of sniffles. And, as much as I love Christmas, for all of us who have family and friends we've lost - husbands, wives, parents, children, there's always a few sniffles, and a sense of loss at Christmas as well.
Most of us will still celebrate Christmas and the holidays with other people we love. But, Ryan Kelly has written a song, "Not Far Apart," with a message of hope and love for all of us who also remember loved ones. May you have a Merry Christmas, and a beautiful Christmas of memories as well.