Christmas is truly one of my very favorite days. I love it. I love the family, the memories, the joy and the love.
In 2009, I blogged about our Christmas, thinking it would be the last of it's kind. However, 2010 was not wrought with the pain that we expected. Christmas 2010 looked close to the same as the year before, and it was awesome.
We spent Christmas Eve with my side of our family in Seattle. The kids did great and Emma only caught her hair on fire a little bit. Then we attended the Christmas Eve candlelight service at the church I grew up in, which was a tradition in my life up until I moved up north and had a family of my own. My children behaved, and Grant fell asleep in my mom's lap, allowing me the privilege and honor of serving my mother communion as she sat with my sleeping child laying across her. The look on Emma's face in the candlelight as we all sang 'silent night' brought me to tears, it was beautiful.
These are the things that make Christmas.
The next day, we did the usual morning events and visiting Marty's mom and family, then off for a visit with Marty's Grandpa, who had cancer and wasn't expected to live much longer. The kids sang 'happy birthday, Jesus' for him, and he loved it. He asked them all their bible verses and was thrilled when Emma told him that she had accepted Jesus into her heart. It was a short visit, but very powerful.
It was the last time we saw him alive.
These are the things I want to remember, the memories I want to hold onto. These are treasures to store in the heart; not toys or presents or stockings or Santa, but Jesus.
This Christmas will look different. 2011 was hard on our circle of friends and family that we hold close, many that we love will be spending their first Christmas in heaven this year. That is fabulous for them, but painful for us. It hurts to miss those that we love, whether they have moved on to Heaven or are still here, just not quite themselves.
It looks different.
I will hold these memories close to my heart, and I will make new memories this year. At this time next year, I don't know how different it will look again. So I will take mental pictures and real pictures and spend time with those that I love. I will store these treasures in my heart to pull out again later and revisit the memories. This Christmas, I will try to love like Jesus.
As I remind my kids often, it's His birthday, not theirs. It's not about what is under the tree, it's about Who came to this world to die on a tree to save us. We are so very blessed to celebrate the birth of our Savior with family and friends, and we are so very thankful that He wants to share His birthday with us.
How will you spend your Christmas?