I love getting Christmas cards in the mail this time of year, but I am guilty of NOT making that happen. I consider electronic Christmas cards the next best thing. Here is what I made this year and I offer it to you with love.
This thought came to me several weeks ago, and I pondered on it until I knew I needed to write it down.
Ten years ago, I was pregnant with my last baby. I had to go on limited bedrest sometime in the Fall that year, taking long rests throughout the day to ward off contractions. The contractions came more and more often until by the first week of December I was on full bedrest. That means, the only reason I could get off the couch was to go to the bathroom. Period. My youngest was still in diapers. My oldest daughter was 11. She and my 8-year-old boy changed diapers, made and brought me food to eat on the couch and cleaned the house (between all the kids making messes) the best they could in the hours my husband was at work. My 6-year-old mostly took care of himself.
My 8-year-old son became the salad-maker of the family. He prepared a salad for our family’s contribution to the pot-luck church Christmas party that year. People complimented their “mom’s salad” (who was not there!) and my son, probably half laughing and half indignant, let them know the HE made the salad, thank you very much!
Thinking about how young they were, I am amazed now how much they did.
By Christmas Eve I had not left the couch (let alone the house) for over three weeks. I was at my lowest emotional level that night. My husband and kids went to our traditional Christmas Eve party at our friends’ house, the Hamricks. I wanted them to go. It would give the kids a break. They were also stuck in the house most of time that month. But as soon as they were pulling away in the van, I could no longer hold back the tears and I sobbed for a little while. I found another Christmas special on the internet to watch to try to distract my mind. I thought of all the people that feel alone and sad on Christmas. I was being blessed with my fifth child. This was a small sacrifice. I knew it wouldn’t last, but in the middle of any challenge it is hard!
I thought of the Christmas story–the REAL story with a baby born in much more humble circumstances than mine. THAT manger-born baby would one day give the greatest sacrifice of all.
In Peru where I was a missionary when I was 21, I learned that January 6th is “Three Kings Day”. It was a day that symbolized the Wise Men’s visit. We know that it was sometime after Jesus’ birth that they came. It was probably a couple of years, not a couple of weeks, but the symbolism is beautiful. January 6th was the day the children in Peru would wake up and find little gifts that the “3 Kings” had brought. I loved that tradition and always thought of January 6th as a day of gifts. So, it is fitting that my long-awaited baby was born on January 6. It was a Sunday and we were all so excited to welcome her.
The only thing close to the excitement and wonder of childhood Christmas for an adult is the day their baby is born. Each birth-day is magical.
In my heart, I know that because of the life and atonement of Jesus Christ,
each birth is magical because it is meaningful.
And that without His willingness to complete his earth-mission with the ultimate sacrifice, this life would be meaningless for all of us.
The Christmas story, and all it entails, is God’s example of honoring each and every person. Every birth—every individual—has intrinsic value and potential beyond our earth-limited imagination!
As we watch 2017 give way to 2018, I pause to count my many blessings. I pause to note what I have learned and how I have grown this year. I pause to honor my true self and to honor you. Thank you for being part of my life. If you are reading this, you are part of my life even if we have never met face to face.
It is my Christmas wish that you see and honor your true self. This is where the PBL principle “honor individual” begins!