For the 39th December in my life, a feeling of deep loss and emptiness is upon me.
It finds me every year the Christmas season presents itself. And while I put on an air of holiday cheer within me, I all but curse the spirit that eludes me. Having spent 5 Christmases in Freising, a village that has had Christmas since the 11th century, Christmas ceased to exist for me when I returned to the states.
The villages, so quaint you would have thought them to be fabricated Christmas card scenes had you not known I was seeing what a child of 12 generations had seen before me. The antiquity of the ancient cobblestone streets under my feet filling me with a feeling of being honored to be in a place where this holiday season held reverence.
My heart quickens as I recall the joyful anticipation of opening the door of the advent calendar for that day, and knowing that the one marked “24” would bestow upon my eyes the Christkind in all of his swaddling splendor.
Try as I might, I have never in all these years been able to duplicate the wonder of this magical season. Try as I may, I have never been able to replace the innocence in the heart of the child within me. Should God spare me, I vow to give this child a gift that will once again fill her heart with all the herald of this season.
She will be in her beloved Freising when next she opens the first door on the advent calendar.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Military Brats Online in 1997.