Happy Imperfect Christmas

The Guideposts executive editor reflects on his time of recovery last Christmas.

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Last Christmas…well, I keep thinking about last Christmas. Last December I had open-heart surgery and that meant Christmas was mostly a time of recovery. No parties, no singing, no traveling, no shopping. One day, scarcely home from the hospital, I walked very slowly to the corner to get a gift certificate for Carol. That was about it. Christmas Eve, with the help of a few painkillers, I made it to church and then went to bed early.

Carol would just as well forget last Christmas. She took pictures of our celebration around the tree but she’s never let me see them. She says it’s because I look so bad. It wasn’t much fun for her to hold the holidays together with a half-functioning husband. Last Christmas is something she could just skip. But there’s stuff I vividly remember and want to hold on to. All the cards, all the food that people dropped off. All the visits and phone calls. All the prayers and emails.

It’s funny—I don’t remember much about the pain in my chest and being tired a lot and never feeling warm enough and running a low-grade fever. What I recall is feeling loved and appreciated. Please don’t get me wrong. I want you to have a Christmas full of abundance and good health. But if you’re having a hard time, if you’re worried about your health or your job or a loved one, let me tell you that there will still be something to treasure. The good stuff shimmers in the dark like tinsel in candlelight. Think of that first Christmas. It was one of the hardest on record. Look what came of it.

Merry Christmas. Let it be imperfect. Even in its imperfections you can find yourself surrounded by love.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.

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