Vidins ponders the empty chair this Christmas
I love Christmas. I love the excitement. I love giving the ones I love presents and receiving presents in return. I love lounging around and eating too much food and playing with new toys and gadgets. I love watching the carols the night before and the excitement of lying in bed, wondering what Christmas day will bring. I love wearing my new Christmas shirt and the special Christmas roast. I truly have been blessed with a loving family, a safe and free country and health. I love Christmas!
Sadly, however, Christmas is not always such a blessed occasion for everyone. For all the joy and happiness, there is often still a tinge of sorrow. Christmas is about being together and having those around you that you love, however, for some people, those they love will not be at the Christmas table this year. There will be an empty chair, where they once sat.
The empty chair could be for anyone – the absent parent or the estranged child. The run-away sibling or the separated partner. The loved one that is no longer with us.
The empty chair where there was once life, joy and connection is no longer.
We all have empty chairs around our Christmas table. Sometimes the chair is only recently empty and the pain of not having that person is terribly piercing. Sometimes the chair has been empty for a few Christmasses and the initial pain is no longer there, but the memory of the one that once graced it still remains. And sometimes, just sometimes, you catch yourself thinking about a chair that has been empty for so long that all you have left is an album full of photos and a pocket full of feelings.
For me, there are two empty chairs around my table.
There will always be an empty chair where my dad should be sitting. It was so long ago now that I don’t even remember having any Christmasses with him. I don’t remember any funny Christmas stories or have any silly gifts from him (apart from my big ears – thanks dad!). I cant help him cook a Christmas bbq breakfast or play cricket with him in the back yard. His empty chair reminds me of all the good things he gave me – his charm and his confidence. His handsome, welcoming smile and his beautiful skin. His love for his family and his boys. His rock-solid faith in the Lord and his never-failing determination. So dad, your chair may be empty but the gifts you gave me all those years ago still remain with me today.
The second empty chair belongs to my first son, Daniel. My boy who I never actually got to spend a Christmas with. I never got to see the joy on his face when giving him gifts, his excitement coming into our room on Christmas morning, with baited breath on what the day would bring. Staying up late with him watching the carols the night before. Playing with his new cars or train set. My boy, I miss you but I know you will be having a wonderful Christmas up in heaven with your Opop.
The good thing about Christmas, however, is that even though there may be empty chairs, there are so many others that have life and love in them! New chairs get added to our table – it could be a new partner or a high-chair for a baby! Each new one to our table brings a new energy, a new perspective and new life to our table. Something to add to our family and share in the love!
Make sure this Christmas that you take the time to appreciate those in the chairs around you. It is a time for forgiveness and new beginnings, a time to enjoy and a time to make peace. Not with fear, but in love, try to bring those chairs closer that have grown distant over time. Embrace those around you and love the quirks that they bring to your Christmas table. Take a moment to appreciate everyone around your table this year – lest their chair be empty next year.
In love, reach out and enjoy those around your table this year.
Merry Christmas everyone