Monday, December 3, 2012

Hearts, Homes, and Joy this Christmas

Thank you so much for praying for our flight back to Texas from Baltimore.  After 30 minutes of screaming, kicking, crying, and raging, and, yes, even having Selah throw her chewed up food on me, as well as winging some objects at the passenger in front of us, I caved and took Selah out of her car seat on the plane, during take-off.  Gasp.  I’d given her night-time dosages of her sleep medications, so she needed to konk out, but just couldn’t give in.


Until she snuggled into Momma’s arms, a rarity I treasure, and slept the entire plane ride home.  Hallelujah, thank You, Jesus!!!!!!!!!


Home sweet home.  No place I’d rather be.  Truly.  What a sigh of relief!!! 


We got home Saturday night, then spent Sunday decorating our home for Christmas. 


My husband pulled out our old faithful Christmas tree of 7 years, only to discover it looked like the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on steroids.


What a pathetic sight.


The branches were matted and squooshed like an elephant used the tree as her bed for a year.


The tree was once a gorgeous pre-lit tree with about 10,000 beautiful twinkling lights, but yesterday, only a few strands of lights illuminated.  In the photo above, everything is plugged in and that’s how many lights worked.




My heart felt so discouraged.  We didn’t have time, nor the desire to spend the money, on a new tree.  The task to make this tree something presentable felt overwhelming.


Until God whispered to my heart that I, too, was a pathetic sight in need of His tender-loving care.  With some TLC, this tree would be transformed.



Just like He did for me—transformed before my very eyes.


This pathetic tree began to sparkle.


As family members knelt down low, as Jesus was born among the lowly, and reached up high to the heavens, where Jesus reigns today, God sent me messages of His presence and reminders that the birth of Jesus is the reason we celebrate this season.



Now, our tree isn’t perfect, but it is hand-crafted with love. 


Each ornament has a story to tell, packed with memories from years past.


This little note was “hand-written” by Chrissie and tucked away into a Jesus stocking ornament in 2009.


Each child gets a photo ornament every year.  It’s such fun to go through the ornaments and see how everyone has changed.


And remember how lives have been transformed.


But the other thing I realized yesterday is that my heart felt heavy.  So very heavy.


Last year, on December 23, my mom died completely unexpectedly of a heart attack.  She was baking the desserts to bring to our home for our Christmas Eve gathering the following day.  She has the ingredients measured out on the countertop in her home, sat in her chair to eat a yogurt, then went straight from her chair into the arms of Jesus.


About 1/4 of our ornaments are from my mom.  She always bought the kids ornaments that would represent their personalities that year.  So many memories were stirred through these ornaments.


And then there’s our princess Chrissie whom we miss dearly.  Oh so dearly.  I really don’t think the pain gets any easier.  I found myself wanting to just sit and cry and wallow in the pain my heart felt, but God surrounded me with the love of our family and the joy of the Christmas season, celebrating the birth of His One and Only Son whom He loved so dearly, Jesus Christ.


We sang at the dinner table with Cooper flapping his arms with so much excitement he looked like he’d fly right out of his high chair.  Joy filled the air.  We lit our Advent candle for the first night, and we created our first Advent reading, adjusted for our little ones.


Then this morning, my heart was lifted even higher as I read my friend Adeye’s blog post.  Joy to the world, my heart could not be happier!!!  I’m so excited to see what God does through Adeye’s efforts.  He always blows me away with the fundraising He does via Adeye. 


I urge you to focus your heart and mind on Jesus this Christmas.  I pray you will read Adeye’s blog post (click HERE) and pray about how God is asking you to respond.  I tell you, He will multiply our giving abundantly when we obey His call. 


I love the idea of giving one $25 Christmas gift in honor or memory of a loved one.  You can buy a brick in their honor/memory, and your gift will have an everlasting impact.  It seriously will, much more so than a toy or gift that will only be remembered for a short time.  This gift will be remembered for a lifetime, and this gift will help give a HOME for LIFE to countless orphans with special needs in Guatemala.


Please ready your hearts for CHRISTmas.  Give to the weak, the lowly, the forgotten ones who matter greatly to our King of kings.  And may God bless you abundantly this Christmas season, transforming your hearts and homes, overflowing you with His joy.

You can give via the above ChipIn or click HERE.  Thank you!

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