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Merry Christmas

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Ready for Christmas eve church.

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At a local lights display.

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Lizard in the spring.

Wish I was a lizard in the spring.

Wish I was a lizard in the spring.

 

If I’s a lizard in the spring, I’d hear my children sing.

Wish I was a lizard in the spring.

Ok, so I’m not sure if these are the exact lyrics for the Mole in the Ground song I’ve heard sung by my favorite bluegrass sister duo.*

Anyway.

This morning in church, I heard my children singing. It was wonderful.

Kate actually knew some of the lyrics, Megan tried to follow her and read off the screen and Daniel picked his own words (or maybe it was the ABC’s) while singing gustily. Amazing. Sweet. Wonderful. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. Or a lizard in the spring.

*Scenic Roots, check them out on YouTube singing Orphan Girl. 🙂

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Why

I know “why?” is the quintessential question of the preschool (and later) years.

So here’s one for you that came after a discussion that we couldn’t do our Easter egg hunt at home until after church:

Katelyn: Why is Daddy the pastor?

Mama: Why do you think he’s the pastor?

Katelyn: Because no one else wants to be the pastor?

Mama: Maybe. But …

Then I got interrupted by something while I was trying to word my answer “right” so we’ll have to continue that conversation another day!

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It’s been a long couple days of thinking about how Jesus was rejected and abused by man, abandoned by God and then dead.

All to pay for my sin.

Not hopeful. (Imagine being one of Jesus’ twelve disciples!)

Thankfully, though, we know the end of the story.

He is risen!

Irrepressible power and love.

Do you understand?

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A blizzard (or two) changed our Christmas travel plans, but several very, very good things happened anyway.

First, a few firsts:

– This is the first Christmas we’ve spent at home as a family. Maybe appropriate since it’s also the first one in our home. Despite missing grandmas and grandpas, we all had fun just being together.

– The first Christmas we hosted non-family for dinner. We invited several local friends we thought may also be snowed in or alone. Six friends came so our dining room table was full with eleven! We roasted a turkey and improvised with seasoned rice, gravy, veggies, chip dip and Christmas cookies. Our guests added yams, fruit salad, Coke and so much more than food!

– The first time I’ve used my wedding silverware! We needed the extra settings. Now if I only had enough water glasses!

Next, a few blessings:

– Much conversation, laughter, eating, singing carols and playing games.

– Everyone who came said thank you for the invitation and was very excited to come. I got tears in my eyes when one man said being able to gather for fellowship with us was the blessing God wanted for him on Christmas and that must be why he didn’t get to travel where he’d planned. Yes, me too. What a blessing to have friends and fellowship.

Finally, something very, very old:

NOTHING can change the fact that Jesus was born on Christmas to bring love, peace, joy and hope to each of us.

And even more if we are hurting, sorrowing, sick, sad, grumpy, angry, depressed, hopeless and fearful. Jesus came to “seek and save” the lost – that’syou and me.

So, if you are missing someone right now – whether because of weather or death or illness – know that Jesus understands, he left the glory and perfection of heaven to be born in a stable so YOU could know Him. So I could.

I hope your Christmas involved people you love, good food and fun, but even if it was full of disappointment, pain and tears, Jesus offers you hope.

Accept His gift.

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The decorating begins.

Decorating for Christmas is something I’ve been looking forward to for a couple months already – since one of my favorite local shops did their big Christmas opening in October! I finally got “a round tuit” today. 😉

This is just the beginning, of course, because I don’t get more than 3 interrupted minutes to do anything – my very enthusiastic helpers, however, do make sure the proper excitement and joy are present as I answer (and ask) many questions about Christmas.

I’m pretty excited as this is our first full-size Christmas tree, purchased on clearance last January. And I searched for hours online (after finding nothing locally) for the perfect star for the top. I think I did. 🙂

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Thankful for …

The sun shining in my windows.

Curtains (even though they’re lace) for those windows.

The girls playing with each other.

The laughter.

The sleeping baby.

His smile around the pacifier when he wakes up.

How he eats and eats.

That I’ll get to make huge meals for three teenagers someday, God-willing.

Josh.

His patience.

His smile.

His laugh.

His goofy sense of humor.

His surprising love for me.

How he’s really a romantic at heart.

Kate’s insatiable curiosity.

The fact that she wants to ask me all her questions.

Her preschool and teachers.

Friends – old and new.

Friends who are in the same stage of life as me.

Ones who’ve made it through where I am.

The friend I can hang out with all day long.

The friend who helps tear down wallpaper.

Louis who promised to help a few months from now.

A house.

A house I dreamed of, but never thought I’d have.

How God gives us the little unimportant things as well as grace and life.

The way my kids love their Daddy.

The way he loves them.

The crunchy fall leaves.

The wet snow that was deep enough to build a snowman.

Kate’s concentration as she added twig arms.

Meg’s attempt to keep up with her sister.

Megan’s love of entertaining us with her silliness.

Her easy smile and laugh.

The way she grabs my face and hands and pulls them towards her.

My mom and dad who did such a good job parenting that I want to be like them.

My in-laws.

My “sisters” who really will stick closer than friends.

Changing seasons.

How Daniel loves water – any water – bathtub, sink, toilet.

Snuggling in the morning with any and all of my kids.

The dark that makes them lean close to me.

How easy it is to make them smile – an impromptu picnic or silly face.

God’s love.

That we can show each other God’s love through our actions.

That He gives us a new chance every day, every hour, every minute when we need it.

Clothing, food, shelter, toys, books, jewelry, furniture, slings, Christmas decorations – all the material things that we tend to take for granted.

Health.

Church family.

That God builds His church and His kingdom.

That God doesn’t leave me where I am, but sees my potential in Christ and urges me onward.

The Spirit who convicts, teaches, reminds.

Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.

His eternal life.

That it is a free gift.

That God is working in me.

That there are some things I can’t understand now.

That God gives me the strength to wait on all those things knowing He is in control.

Faith.

Beauty.

Especially in nature and art.

Forgiveness – God’s and man’s.

Freedom.

Education.

Baby belly laughs.

Tears and apologies.

The Bible.

A van that goes.

Strollers and bikes.

Our small town.

Living close to the square.

Neighbors.

Sad things that have caused me to draw closer to God and be able to minister to others.

Water Lilies by Claude Monet.

Literature.

Hearing all three of my kids laugh and play together.

Seeing my family.

A quiet afternoon to focus on all of these things.

And you … even if you’re not still reading.

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