Christmas decor was at an all time low at our house this year. Our nine foot Christmas tree never even made it out of the box. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, and the mantle and dining room table looked festive, but it was definitely a low maintenance Christmas when it came to decor. Well, actually there was one decoration that was a bit high-maintenance: The wheelchair Christmas lights take awhile for my husband to assemble, but he is happy to do it. Please let me explain.
The Christmas after our wreck and our daughter’s paralysis in 2015 was devastating. As “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” played everywhere I went, I felt it was anything but wonderful. In fact, I wrote my own “new” lyrics for that song and sung them in my head. Let’s just say my version may have rhymed with, “It’s the hap, happiest season of all,” but my lyrics were a bit more depressing.
I remember the first time we received a Christmas card which included a photo of an entire family standing, smiling, and having a great time. It was a harsh, horrible reminder my family wasn’t all standing. Smiling, for me, took way too much of my acting ability, and nobody I lived with was really having a great time.
That Christmas season we endured, but certainly did not enjoy, the holidays. In my upcoming book I tell about our “Christmas Eve Church Experience” and let me tell you, it was a low point in our journey, to be sure.
I think the phrase, “Time heals everything” is a lie. My daughter’s paralysis isn’t healed. But I do believe time softens some things. I gained this knowledge first hand. By Christmas 2016, when Alissa could actually stand from her wheelchair for short periods of time using long-leg braces and a walker, I was willing to give Christmas a bit more of a chance.
And so was my daughter. She got the idea to take rope Christmas lights and have her dad put them on her wheelchair tires. The first time she rolled out into the dark great room of our home with her wheelchair tire Christmas lights lighting up the room I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I think I actually did both.
No teenager should be stuck sitting in a wheelchair day after day! Period. And yet, there was my daughter taking the life crap she’d been handed still trying to light up her world! Over the past few Christmas seasons, those wheelchair tire lights have served as a powerful symbol for me.
When my husband puts those lights on Alissa’s wheelchair tires the weekend after Thanksgiving, I simply smile and think, “Take that, Satan! You meant to kill, steal, and destroy us. Yes, you got in some substantial licks which caused, and still cause, some immeasurable heartache, but by golly, The Light still shines! You, who want the world to be dark, painful, and scary will never never win in the end! The Light shines through, even in the midst of pain. Nothing, NOTHING can stop The Light from shining if we choose to let it shine through our hardships, hurts, and hang-ups! Period!”
We may not have had a big tree up at our house this year, but we had The Light. And through the immense faults, failures, and frustrations of my family, we will all do our best to keep rolling for Jesus, to keep spreading Light to a dark world, and to take what has absolutely devastated us and shine some Light on it. In turn, we pray it helps others.
I don’t know what you are dealing with, Dear Reader. I can’t pretend to be in your circumstances; however, I do know that the most important Christmas decoration in our family isn’t the tree, or the nativity set, or the table centerpiece.
In our house, the most important Christmas decoration is the hope and faith of the wheelchair Christmas lights.
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it! John 1:5
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing.