This morning, I keep thinking back to the past two Christmases we've shared as a family.
In Christmas 2007, Cynthia was just going into her third trimester with Cara, and carrying her so beautifully. It was a really nice Christmas together. And while we enjoyed that Christmas together, we spent most of our time dreaming about next year's Christmas and what it would be like to share all our traditions with Cara. I can still here all the "next year with Cara's" when I think back to that Christmas. One special memory for me was the Christmas Eve service. As some of you might know, our church has its Christmas Eve service outside. This year, we were out in the middle of a field, next to a few farm animals and a tiny manger. I was up in front of the congregation playing guitar for the service while Cynthia with Cara in her belly was out in the crowd. I know it wouldn't seem like a special memory for everyone, but for me, playing guitar at such a beautiful service with Cynthia and Cara there meant a lot. It was one of those memories of sharing music and the miracle of Christmas with Cara that I'll never forget.
Last Christmas, we were pretty much in a completely opposite place. Instead of experiencing joy, hope and peace through the holidays we were finding deep despair. Just a few months ago we had lost hope from the miscarriage, and at the time we were hoping that we'd get pregnant very soon. The one bright spot of the season came through our trip to the mountains. We knew we had to do something different to take care of ourselves over the holidays and getting away for a couple days to the mountains was the perfect fit.
This Christmas again seems almost like a complete reversal. With Molly here, there is more hope and joy in our lives than there's been since our pregnancy with Cara. As we've written before, Molly is a gift to our family, and in a way a gift from Cara, and with her here there is a physical, tangible sign of life and hope in our family again. But this Christmas season isn't all roses. Very often as we've put up the tree or gone to Grandma's house for cookie day we've grieved Cara's physical absence from those traditions. It's heartbreaking to think that Cara should be here, and if she was she'd be a beautiful little one and a half year old getting into all kinds of trouble.
Tonight, we'll gather with our church again outside in a barn. It will be quiet, dark and cold. I'll be up there again playing guitar, thinking about Cara and looking out into the congregation for my beautiful wife and daughter.
We miss you so much, Cara. We wish you could physically be here. You would be a beautiful, dark-haired little toddler by now and it would be so fun if you were here. Help us feel you close to us this Christmas season. You are our angel. We love you always.