* We didn’t take a new picture this year, so I had to give you our picture from last year!
Merry Christmas! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this time of year! I love that my kids are home from school, I love that I am off from work, I love that my blogging schedule is lighter, I love that it gets colder and family is around! I love the smells the lights, and food!
On an even deeper level and I am so thankful for the the reason why we celebrate Christmas. There was a talk that I heard recently about the choice that we have to be grateful, and it really struck me for this time of year and not just in November.
Thessalonians – 5:18 In every thing give athanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
A few years ago at Christmas time, Paul had been laid off and things seemed REALLY bleak. I was physically sick each day thinking of what my kids would have to open Christmas morning. I planned and planned and worried even more. More important than presents I had to worry about just paying basic bills, I felt selfish even worrying about how I was going to get them something cool to open. I was mad at Paul for getting laid off (as if it was his fault) I was mad at pretty much everyone that I could possibly be mad at including myself for not seeing ahead that this could happen.
One afternoon when my little kids were sleeping I got a church magazine and a Simple Living magazine in the mail the same day. I sat for a few hours while they napped and read both of them completely through. From the church magazine I got a peace of heart that all would work out and from the Simple Living magazine I knew that I had wanted too much and lost sight of what was reasonable for my little family.
That was when I decided that just like Christ received 3 gifts from the wise men, my children would get 3 gifts each year from us. They would also get a gift from Santa, but it gave me a place to start and a plan to keep it in control. I also worked like crazy to make it happen and have a peaceful heart that all bills were paid before I bought a single present. I cut hair, made personalized ceramic plates, I babysat and cleaned friends homes. I swallowed my pride and let people know that I was doing all these things if anyone knew someone or needed anything themselves.
I had everything paid for and presents bought. I was patting myself on the back. Then on the 20th of December, our baby at the time, had gotten so sick she was admitted to the hospital. As I sat up there with her wishing we were home with the other kids, I wasn’t so proud of myself anymore. All I wanted was to be with my family. None of it mattered anymore. My heart hurt so bad that the Christmas that I had worked so hard for would be celebrated without the baby and I. Even more difficult was watching my baby hooked up to the breathing machines and that she just could not understand why she she was there and couldn’t move around.
I prayed and prayed she would get better. Slowly she started breathing better, the 2nd set of antibiotics started working and we were sent home at 9pm on Christmas Eve. I cried as we walked in the door at the relief of us all being in the same place. The next day for Christmas was the first Christmas that I really felt the miracle of what that day represented. It all came together for me that day. The love that Jesus Christ has for all of us, the simple nature of how it should be celebrated, the CRAZY love that I have for my kids and just how GRATEFUL I was for EVERYTHING. I wrote a journal entry to myself, begging ME to remember the feelings that I had that day and to make sure I had them every Christmas.
I know that many of you have had situations of stress that are difficult to imagine. Husbands and children gone for the Holiday’s, job loss, stressful family situations, even death. Please know that you are not alone, that there are people who love you, and that many situations although hard to imagine, are only temporary. I believe also, that Jesus Christ is our savior and that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and that are blessings in store for us. It can be hard to be grateful when we have challenges, but when we try and have a grateful heart and serve others we can see that we all have many blessings and a reason to celebrate this Christmas season.
Please be safe if you are traveling this week! Have a wonderful Christmas!
With Love from,
Paul, Tiffany, Tucker, Emma, Paige, Avery, Storie, Rush and Andie!