When Christmas Hurts


December 1957: The phone call drove my grandmother to her knees. Her lungs emptied in a gasp as she collapsed on the hardwood floor. Her only sibling, a brother— dead. World War II had not killed him, but a drunk driver did. Four fatherless children wailed when they got the news.

December 1958: My grandfather left my Dad in charge of the gas station while he traveled with the family to give his oldest niece away in marriage. A few hours later my father gripped his chest and crumbled to the green City Service cement. Twenty-seven years old and gone. Just like that. His heart failed. I was fifteen months old.

Often through my fifty-seven years, I’ve wondered how my family made it through those Christmases and the ones that followed. Our fatherless families always spent Christmas together. As a child, I couldn’t know the pain and suffering of the adults. The length of their Christmas hugs and their dewy eyes? Well, I thought everyone cherished each other like that on Christmas.

As a young adult, I faced a chilling December without my infant daughter, but finally understood the secrets of suffering. You cling.


You cling to God the Father with all your might, and you cling to those He’s planted around you.

You grasp and hold on with clenched heart and hands. You pray to get through pain all the while you cannot escape it. Most of all, you remember that the Christ in Christmas suffered, died, and became your greatest sympathizer. He understands like no human.

Because of His tender, sacrificing love, you choose to celebrate Him—no matter how much you hurt. After all, He’s the reason we’ll see our loved ones again.




Ann Cooper McCauley

Daddy did you meet my little one, at heaven’s gate tonight?

Did you say, “I am your grandpa?”

Did you hold her through the flight?

Did you know her when you saw her?

Did she look like me to you?

Did you introduce her to the Father,

Did you hear her first, soft coo?

It’s strange how I never knew your face to call my own,

And yet because of heaven, you’re with my child in heaven’s home.

Someday I will join you both and the secrets you will tell,

Of how you spent eternity, and waited for me there.

In the meantime, I have your picture,

And the memory of one small babe,

To hold in my heart through earth’s long journey,

To keep me focused along my way.

For I wouldn’t want to miss that moment,

When together, I’ll hear you both say,

“Let us introduce you to the Father,

It was such a long, long wait.”


Listen for His Whispers

About The Author

Ann Cooper McCauley


  • Dawn on December 23, 2014

    Thank you Ann… I so needed this. As usual you write your heart and the Father uses it for balm to others hurting hearts…

    • Ann Cooper McCauley on December 23, 2014

      I am glad, Dawn. We have had two deaths “in the family” this week, my mother’s first cousin’s funeral was Monday, and a grandmother to my nieces is tomorrow on Christmas Eve. I’ve always loved Christmas–even the painful ones. What would we do without our Father God? He is so gracious, good, and faithful.

  • Sally Chambers on December 23, 2014

    Oh, Ann, your post is so touchingly beautiful. And Introductions brought both sad and happy tears. That poem must have just poured out of your heart. Thank you for sharing it.

  • debbie richardson on December 24, 2014

    Beautiful, Ann. Thank you for sharing. I have so many friends who are especially hurting this year.

  • Elsie Brunk on December 25, 2014

    Ann, your post touched my heart deeply and brought tears…and then your reply to Dawn’s comment: “What would we do without our Father God? He is so gracious, good, and faithful” brought more tears, as I’ve been tempted to question that lately. Deep within my heart I know it’s true, but my feelings sometimes don’t reflect that…Bless you for your God-given reminder.

    • Ann Cooper McCauley on December 26, 2014

      Oh Elsie, message me on facebook or email me if you need to talk. Hugs!

  • Betty Wingfield on January 2, 2015

    You are such a beautiful writer. I think you write “feelings” every bit as well as Charles Martin and I’ve always thought he was the best. I’m encouraged by every single word you write. Don’t stop. Have a wonderful New Year!

    • Ann Cooper McCauley on January 2, 2015

      Betty, I don’t know what to say… Thank you for supporting and encouraging me. Thank you. You have a blessed and prosperous new year, too! Isn’t it wonderful that He makes things new every, single day?

  • Terri tiffany on January 2, 2015

    I love your writing. This was beautiful.

    • Ann Cooper McCauley on January 2, 2015

      Again, I am not sure what to say. Thank you,Terri. That means a lot coming from another writer. Thank you very much.

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Signed with Diana L. Flegal, Hartline Literary Agency

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