fingerprints I wrestle with little white lights to cover the burnt-out section of a well-loved tree…

And I find fingerprints.

I squeeze underneath the bristly branches as the bell on the skirt sings a jingle jangle…

And I find fingerprints.

I hang each stocking marked with silver, glitter-splotched letters from berries of red…

And I find fingerprints.

I gingerly pull each ornament out as if to gently touch each memory it holds…

And I find fingerprints.

I string the garland, tie the bows and polish the candlesticks...

And I still find fingerprints.

I set the timers and the lights aglow to the sound of little voices in shades of “oohs” and “ahs”…

And once again, I find fingerprints.

Everywhere, there are fingerprints…

My daddy’s fingerprints.

Found most alive on our mantle where a merry little Santa sits. A little something that was left in my hospital room last year so that when I came back from surgery, I would see it. His way of telling his Christmas-loving girl that even though he wasn’t there to say it, he loved her.

And just like the little ones that fill my windows halfway up, my daddy’s fingerprints are a beautiful and indelible sign of life and love.

As much as it aches, it also reminds me not only of the love he gave me here on earth but also of the love he left behind. And as I trim the tree and bake the cookies and play with the Little People nativity set, I am very aware that I am also leaving fingerprints behind on my four little loves. I am writing, marking and leaving them changed.

So this season, this remarkable life-changing season, I am asking myself what kind of mama-prints will be left in my coming and going--what marks will I use to say I have loved them and will love them even when I am not here to say it…

Will my prints speak of love and mercy? Will they write a story of grace? Will they sound clearly through the noise?

Will they sing of my Jesus? Or will they speak more of me?

Will they write agenda and control in my babies’ hearts? Will they shout frustration and anger as our years are unpacked and counted? Will they hurt or will they salve?

And what will my loves remember when I am gone and they wrestle with the twinkly lights and hang the stockings and string the garland?

Jesus, I want it to be You.

I want it to be You in me, through me and in spite of me.

Mark every print with Your unshakeable peace and every word with Your mercy and every mess-up with Your grace so that when the moment for life without me comes and only memories are left, they still hear with resounding clarity, “I loved you then…I love you now…and I love you for all the years to come.”

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.