Thursday, December 25, 2008

25 Days of CHRISTmas - CHRISTmas Day 2008

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

What a beautiful day. I think today was the nicest CHRISTmas I can remember in the longest time, perhaps ever.

I am a blessed woman. I have a husband who I love dearly, I am madly in love with him, grateful for the nearly 20 years we have been together and with great hope, joy and expectation anticipating a long and wonderful life together, in Jesus' name.

I have three wonderful children. They can be loud and rambunctious, they are far from perfect but they are mine, God's gift to me, each with their own special strengths and talents, each with their own endearing qualities, all precious to me in a million ways I cannot begin to list.

I have parents who love me, who are good to me, and have always done all that they could to show me their love and support.

All of these gifts are richly enhanced and perhaps more greatly understood to be precious personal gifts because I am blessed to walk daily in my life with the Lord who loves me, just as I am. I have a Savior who came to earth to die for me, to live with me, to lead and to guide me. He is Wonderful, my Counselor, He is the Prince of the peace that resides in my heart knowing He is for me, and He is Mighty; He can and will handle whatever challenges or storms may come my way, and He will always be there, forever. He is Emmanuel, God with me.

Happy Birthday Jesus. Thank you my true Love that today and every day You give to me...

the burden to pray...
my daughter's smile...
the gift of perspective...
the gift of a reprieve...
the gift of hope...
a little peace and quiet...
the joy in worship...
the gift of the still small voice...
the men in my life...
the power to choose...
the kindness of a stranger...
new friends...
the joy of celebrating my daughter's life...
the opportunity to witness the faith and kindness of children...
Candyland and CHRISTmas cookies under the CHRISTmas tree...
CHRISTmas caroling with my family...
the ability to go with the flow...
the gift of fun...
reminders of what CHRISTmas is really all about....
a calm in the eye of the storm...
the joy of celebration...

But most of all Lord, my true Love, You give to me, You, the Greatest Gift of all, and the Greatest Giver of gifts ever.

Happy Birthday dear Jesus... happy birthday to You.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

Merry CHRISTmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

25 Days of CHRISTmas - December 24, 2008

"On the twenty-fourth day of CHRISTmas my true Love gave to me... tradition."

I am only child, I have only a few traditions growing up, my favorite of which was, and remains CHRISTmas morning breakfast, but even that tradition is one that didn't start until I was probably in adolescence.

As an adult with my own children, there is one tradition that has really developed in our little family. It is our CHRISTmas Eve tradition of going to church together and then driving to see lights on a particular street in a nearby city. I love it, I look forward to it every year, and my kids too. There is something wonderful abiut having this tradition that the five of us share. Others have joined us, but always the five of us, it is how we end CHRISTmas Eve.

I love tradition because in a world where things are always changing, it is nice when somethings remain the same.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

25 Days of CHRISTmas - December 23, 2008

I cannot BELIEVE it's the twenty-third of December! I am freaking out a little inside. My shopping is done, purely because I refuse to do any more of it. Whatever may not be bought yet, well, it just isn't going to be bought this CHRISTmas. Well, except the groceries. I am missing several key ingredients to my first ever at home, cooked by me CHRISTmas dinner. But gift shopping has been terminated.

On the other hand, gift wrapping is still to be done. I stayed up till 4 am last night and got between half and two-thirds of it done. I am waiting now for my children to head off to bed for another all-nighter. Lord help me, I will sleep on Friday.

In the midst of the millions of things to do, tonight we had Victoria's "friend party" for her birthday. Why did I make it for the 23rd of December? Is it because I am completely insane? Though that is a debatable possibility, it is not the reason I planned as I did. The reason I planned as I did was because High School Musical on Ice came to town today and opening night tickets were available at the highly bargained price of just $12 each. It was something I could not (or at least chose not to pass up) even though it is the night before CHRISTmas eve.

Can I just say I am so glad we did this tonight? I mean, like THRILLED glad.

"On the twenty-third day of CHRISTmas my true Love gave to me...the joy of celebration."

My mom, my good friend Patty and I took Victoria and 4 of her little girlfriends to the show and it was so much fun. It's always fun to have a girls' night out, but this night had a whole new spin on it. Even taking the girls to the bathroom was a blast. I took Victoria and her little friends A & K, and the three of them had a blast standing in line doing souped up versions of patty cake. I'm sure that's not what it's called, but I'm not so cool as to know the right name... something about "lemonade, crunchy ice..." and the physical part of it is way more intensive than traditional patty cake too, but it was fun, like super fun!

I love that the girls are so joyful, intensely joyful. Life should be like that, especially when you're celebrating something as important as someones birth! Tonight we celebrated Victoria's with vigor. Everyday we should celebrate the Lord's birth like that!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

25 Days of CHRISTmas - December 22, 2008

Today I had some nice quiet time to myself. I sat in a chair with a good book (not to be confused with THE Good Book) and I read while listening to and watching the rain outside. It was peaceful, the kids weren't around, I was bundled up in comfy sweat pants and a warm sweatshirt. It was nice.

The only downside was it wasn't in my own home, but rather in the waiting room of our local hospital while my husband was having surgery on his knee. I had a long list of things that wasn't getting done but it didn't matter. I was where I was most needed, and somehow I found peace in the midst of it, even when I had to referee battles between my sons via cell phone. I am fortunate that my oldest son, though not always one to make the best decisions, is trustworthy and pretty responsible. I think back to the days when he was too young to be much help and I don't know how I managed, and I am thankful that these days I can rely on his more and more. He's becoming a man right before my eyes.

"On the twenty-second day of CHRISTmas my true Love gave to me... a calm in the eye of the storm."

There is a lot of storminess going on in our lives, even some I don't necessarily share here on my blogs (shocking, I know), and it can rattle you. I think back to the story of Jesus in the storm. He has the power to speak to the winds and calm them, but I know He doesn't always choose to do that. Sometimes it has to be enough to know He in the storm with you, He's in your boat.

There is something about finding the quiet in the midst of a storm that replenishes your soul. It's like a cold drink when you are thirsty. You will be thirsty again (at least here in this life) but for the moment there is a little satisfaction. Once we left the hospital I felt the anxiousness rise back up a little, I'll just be honest, thinking about all I have left to do and how little time I have left to do it can be overwhelming, but I also know I will not be overcome by it.

I am also grateful to report that Neal has had a pain free day. We had to pay an unexpected $250 this morning for the "cold therapy unit" Neal's doctor prescribed because our insurance denied it as "not medically necessary." It may not be necessary, but it is certainly showing itself to be invaluable. I hope as my husband finds himself tethered to an outlet by this machine, unable to do much other than recuperate and rest, he finds the same replenishing in the calm of the storm as well.

May you all have a moment in the midst of your storm that God will provide you with a drink of cool water for your thirsty souls. In Jesus' name.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

25 Days of CHRISTmas - December 21, 2008

"On the twenty-first day of CHRISTmas my true Love gave to me... reminders of what CHRISTmas is really all about."

OK, I almost missed it, posting on the 21st day of CHRISTmas. I have been rushing around still trying to find those last couple gifts at stores open till midnight and later. It's been crazy, the rushing and the searching. I'm still not done, three days left and I have a husband having surgery and a seven-year-old's birthday party in the next 2 days. I am pressed, and I can easily get caught up in the hustle and bustle and lose all the joy.

But there are moments, moments that stop you in your tracks and make you think about what the Reason for the Season really is.

Today I had one of those moments. One of the youngsters in our church (am I that old that I have resorted to the use of the word "youngster"? I guess I am, but I digress.) Anyway, in service this morning this young man played a beautiful version of "What Child Is This?" on his cello while scenes form the movie The Nativity played silently on the screen behind him. It was powerfully moving, there was no singing, just his cello, and yet the lyrics ran through my mind all the while.

What child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

This Child, the Christ child, he came to earth surrendering all his majesty to be born an infant in a manger. The Father looking on from "heaven afar." This moment when all eternity was changed, my eternity was changed because God himself was willing to come here on earth to be my Emmanuel.

The thought occurred to me, when you know Jesus, when you have a personal relationship with Him, know Him as Savior, Healer and Friend, in every day there is a little CHRISTmas.

Merry CHRISTmas!