Our Christmas - Aria MacDonald

Our Christmas

Aria’s story aired on TV One last Sunday. It included updated footage of us back in NZ after her passing. NZ residents can watch HERE

Growing up in a church I have learnt that at Christmas time you pray for the people that have lost loved ones. This year, I understand and appreciate that prayer on a deeper level than ever before.

The lead up to Christmas has been really hard for our family. The whole world seems to sing about how wonderful Christmas time is and how it is the best time of the year. We feel empty and broken and that can’t be fixed with sing song Christmas carols about snow (always weird in summer time!) or excessive amounts of food and presents.

We have felt a real sense of burden for those, ourselves included, whose Christmas time is not the wonderful time we are told it should be. There are many reasons why Christmas time can be tough, lack of money, lack of family, lack of meaningful rest. For some the trials of life simply do not stop because it is the 25th of December.

Personally I felt burdened by the long list of things I felt I needed to accomplish for Christmas day to make it special. Food, presents brought etc etc. I guess for the first time I have had the ‘freedom’ to easily access a supermarket without blizzards or co-ordinating Aria’s hospital care. Yet I did not feel free.

Our Christmas day started in the wee small hours of the morning with me being fairly sick with stomach cramps. I obviously won’t go into details, for your sakes, but it was likely pregnancy/anxiety related. However, thankfully, the idea of cooking and consuming christmas lunch was enough to put me back on the bathroom floor. So Hamish and Asher, who couldn’t care less about the lack of roast lamb, had scrambled eggs for Christmas lunch! Perfect.

As it turned out Asher also couldn’t have cared less about the pile of presents under the Christmas when he woke up. Around 10am he vaguely motioned to one of his stockings which we let him open and then didn’t mention them again until Nana and Poppa arrived in the evening. Again, quite a surprise. Despite it being his birthday less than 3 weeks ago he had managed to compile an impressive list of new presents he wanted. Argh- despite many lectures about how privileged he was and how some people don’t get presents at Christmas time and how Jesus is the real present he didn’t seemed discouraged from his ‘I-wants’

So until about 6pm on Christmas day it was a foodless and presentless day. Asher declared it was the best Christmas ever and Hamish and I felt a huge sense of peace. Oddly the grief of Aria’s missing presence countered by this peace. How everyday must be like Christmas in heaven for her. We never could of provided that for her. Last Christmas she was greatly troubled by breathing issues and the previous one to that she was dying of liver disease. Aria is free from the earthly body that let her down!

We enjoyed Christmas evening with our family. There was food and laughter and yes, presents. But they had been redeemed knowing we could of gone without them and God would of filled us with all we needed.

Our brokenness for Aria’s passing can never be fixed with stuff or things. It can however be healed and soothed by relationship with God and others. We were so thankful to God for His peace and knowledge He too lost a child, willingly for our sake so that we might live in heaven with Him. We were thankful to the people who emailed, text, called and remembered our pain on Christmas Day and before and after. Thank you!

54 Responses to “Our Christmas”

  1. Jan P. says:

    Hi

    I can so relate we lost our precious 21 year old son 24th Dec 1998, but we have always celebrated life and felt he chose his day to go knowing that his mum, dad and 2 sisters would always be together and have plenty of food and drink to ease our pain so we make sure we do just that. We also celebrate the loss of our daughter 35 years ago. I always have lovely flowers around as well, we always take a nice bouquet up to them to. Was thinking of you and thanks for sharing with us all once again. Love to you all

  2. Jes says:

    Was and still am praying for you all. Much love xx

  3. Helen says:

    I often think of you guys & all that you have gone through. I loved watching your story on the last attitude for the year. I just wanted to let you know that people do care. Thanks for sharing your ups & downs with us, your story remains forever in our hearts. May God continue to bless your family with his peace. We also wish you all the best with your pregnancy, Congratulations! Love from the Rose family xx

  4. jen says:

    thanks for sharing that tv program with us I missed it
    so sad for all of you
    I cried a bucket ill never forget her

    Its a nice thought “How everyday must be like Christmas in heaven for her.” Shes happy there no more pain

    still praying and thinking about you all
    cant wait to hear you have a new baby sister or brother
    please do keep us posted
    my love goes out to you all
    Jen xoxox

  5. Bland family says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas story Anita. So often within simplicity, there is peace. I cherish the truth of Aria being with Jesus on December 25th as we who are still bound on Earth celebrate his birth and love for us all. All our love to you XXX

  6. Jo says:

    I prayed for you guys as I had empathy a little as I missed my younger bro who died 7 Jan 2010. I loved him to bits.

    My older bro chose not to be with us anymore as a family a month ago. It’s up to me to help my Mum without the boys around.

    I appreciated your heart Anita. So many times I have cried on Christmas Day because it is so hard. Things were tough when my younger bro was alive as I had to go on suicide watch with him every year leading up to Christmas.

    This year I chose not to send out Christmas cards and a newsletter. Wow did it free me up from the pressure, and I found myself reflecting more on our wonderful Lord, and his amazing son Jesus. Really changed my Christmas, focusing on the one who’s birthday we remember.

    So glad the evening was so pleasant with the family.

    I pray your pregnancy is going ok. Bummer morning/noon sickness eh!

  7. Peter Thies says:

    Our prayers are with you

  8. Belinda (LF-Aus) says:

    <3<3<3

  9. Belinda (LF-Aus) says:

    They were mean’t to be hearts! xxx

  10. Caoimhe Meehan says:

    Thinking of and praying for you guys often. I cant imagine how hard life must be for you all, especially at times such as Christmas. God bless you all.xxxxxx

  11. Lori H says:

    So wish all of us (abroad) could see the TV special. I was only able to watch a small portion a few weeks ago, and as well cried a bucket of tears! I don’t pretend to even have a CLUE of the depths of your pain, but I am SO GRATEFUL to hear that through it you still recognize the awesome HOPE that Christmas brings. It truly is what it’s all about. One day ((VERY SOON)) all will be made right and you will be reunited with your beautiful, completely whole daughter! We love you guys SO MUCH….think of you OFTEN!

  12. Maree says:

    I too have been sick so just had to let my hubby take over and just stay in bed
    Have had a horrible month of funerals and now have anoithre one to go to. Cant even visit the family yet.

  13. Karen says:

    Praying that God will wrap His loving arms around you and bring you comfort and peace!Christmas can be very difficult when there is a loved one missing— an empty place at the Christmas table! Our church had a special Christmas service on the 23rd which was a service of remembrance where we remembered those who are no longer with us. There was a wreath of memories and we all placed white ribbons on in memory of our loved ones. The wreath will be permanently displayed at the church. We also said each name aloud and we each lit a candle that said “hope”. We played the song “light a Candle” by Paul Alexander at the end of the service. It was very helpful for me. Another song I love is Christmas in Heaven . Here is the link on youtube. God be with you!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVE7H2QUD-U

  14. Karen says:

    Another thing we do is we still hang my son’s and also my husband’s Christmas stockings (they are in Heaven) and we write notes to them and put them in the stockings. On Christmas we send the notes to “Heaven” for them. We also have a special centerpiece at Christmas dinner . After dinner. we take the centerpiece to the cemetery and place it on the graves to share a part of our Chrostmas with them. Other years, we have set a place at the table for them with a white rose on their plates…. Our Christmas traditions have changed somewhat since my husband and son died. We have found what works best for us! Christmas is still difficult but we have gathered comfort from remembering our loved ones in Heaven and making them a part of our Christmas! You will learn what works for you and Aria will always be a part of your Christmas!!!

  15. Cousins Kathleen & Anita says:

    Many blessings as you begin a new year. God’s mercies are better than the pile of presents under the tree. They are NEW every morning, not just Christmas morning!
    And thinking of Christmas/pine trees, how about this beautiful promise:

    I will answer him and care for him. I am like a green pine tree; your fruitfulness comes from me. Wow! Thank you Lord! By the way that’s Hosea 14:8 NIV

    So looking forward to hearing whether its Nicoleena or ¿Nicholas? We love him/her already!

  16. chrissy Hallberg says:

    May the new year be a truely blessed time for you all,chrissy :)

  17. chrissy Hallberg says:

    p.sssssss,can I ask you to pray for me on the 09/01/12,I am having a mastectomy,I know i will be fine but I must admit prayer makes me feel more peace,blessings,chrissy

  18. Tiffany Keller says:

    I pray that God will continue to comfort you & give you strength! It definitely is bittersweet after losing someone you love. I lost my dad May 3rd, 2008. His birthday was on Dec. 10th. So it’s close to Christmas, and it’s a reminder that things aren’t quite right. I bet Aria is having the time of her life in Heaven. :-) God Bless!

  19. lisa says:

    Dear Anita, thank you for your honesty and sharing your pain. Aria will always be so missed, so loved and so remembered. Love to you all. Lisa xxx

  20. iliganoa says:

    hi friends
    thank you for reminding me of the screened special on Aria, I will try and get some time to watch it during the business of festive season. Thank you for sharing your lives with me and others here and at church.
    God bless you abundantly this christmas and new year 2012 there is no time limit to missing someone we love so dearly. Just keep on reminding yourselves that whatever your lot Jesus has taught us to know it is well it is well with our souls because of His great love for you and me. May you all have good health and your next baby will be super healthy amen.

  21. Taryn says:

    God brought you all to mind throughout the holidays and continues to bring you to my mind and into my prayers. Blessings as you continue to navigate this new world. Praising God with you as Aria celebrates Christmas with the Lamb Himself! Still grieving that she went before you.

  22. H Wilkie says:

    Always in our thorts and prayers xx

  23. Lyaine says:

    Thinking of you in this new year of 2012. May God richly bless you all as move forward with your lives this year.

  24. Grandpa David says:

    May your next newborn be a healthy little being and go a tiny little way to filling a void. Two little boys will be a hand full!

  25. Granddad David says:

    Best wishes and hope for the New Year for the 4 of you guys.

  26. Peter Thies says:

    Still praying every day for you. How is the pregnancy coming along?

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11