2008 was one of the most challenging and pivotal years of my life, now only out matched by 2015. It had been a hard year for different reasons and a goal that I had spent the entire year working towards had been accomplished and then lost within the week leading up to Christmas. What I thought was a done deal ended up reversing itself in a pretty jarring way. The holidays that I'd intended to have went out the window before I even knew what had happened.
I hadn't shared the win with my family yet, so when I arrived back at my parents' house for Christmas, it wasn't a known story. But on Christmas Eve, it began weighing on me more than I probably realized and my normal obsessive Christmas spirit was visibly dampened. As is the tradition, we went to early Christmas Eve service and settled in as a family up towards the front of the sanctuary.
I was sitting next to my Grandma who I have always been really close with. My Grandfather and I share a good amount of similarities in both his looks and in the careers we've had. A 6'5" bearded sales man with an expectation of winning, Grandpa and I always had a special bond. So when the Christmas hymns started, Grandma caught on to my mood probably more than I realized.
But it wasn't until my favorite Christmas song came on, Hark The Hearld Angels Sing, that I knew that she knew. As the music swelled at the end of the first verse, I started crying. A rush of emotion and the entire year swept over me and I literally lost it half way through the second verse. Doing my best to keep it together, I just looked up hoping that my height would hide the tears streaming down my face.
While trying to compose myself, I felt Grandma place her hand on top of mine and give it a big squeeze. She didn't look over at me, just she kept her hand on mine. It was enough of an acknowledgement that she knew and that she saw me, but also knew I was fighting that fight on my own. It was enough of a comfort and distraction from the war flying in my head to slow my holiday breakdown and regain some composure.
Composure enough that when the third line of the third verse came around, I was belting it out so loudly that I am quite confident the people a few rows ahead of me thought I was trying out for choir practice.
LIGHT AND LIFE TO ALL HE BRINGS - RIS'N WITH HEALING IN HIS WINGS
And so this morning, reflecting on the past year over a cup of coffee and game planning this final week of all out hustle, I once again felt all the emotion of that Christmas past come rushing back in when Spotify shuffled Chris Tomlin's version of Hark The Hearld Angels Sing across my playlist.
MILD HE LAYS HIS GLORY BY - BORN THAT MEN NO MORE MAY DIE. BORN TO RAISE THE SONS OF EARTH - BORN TO GIVE THEM SECOND BIRTH.
Now my neighbors know my favorite Christmas song as I sang it at the top of my lungs.
HARK THE HEARLD ANGELS SING - GLORY TO THE NEWBORN KING.