Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Reason?

For several years now I've not been able to put into words my feelings or thoughts on Christmas, and why, for a time, I've found myself even cranky about it.

I think I've figured it out.

There are certain dates that stand out in my calendar year. Dates to remember. Obviously we all have birthdays. And then there are national holidays, world wide holidays, personal anniversaries or dates to remember, and then, in my life, the days several loved ones have gone before me into God's amazing presence, leaving us behind.

And since losing a son on January 12th, 2007, a son who was born June 10th, 2006, those particular dates have new meaning for me rather than just being days after my birthday or weeks before our wedding anniversary. They are kind of a big deal. But they also are not...

Let me explain. Every. Single. Day. I remember that we had a son and that he died. Every. Single. August through January, I remember that we spent 5 months in the hospital with our son that passed away. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday...these all over-lapped Noah's life in the hospital. Do I think about it at Every. Single. Moment? No. But it is part of my core. I cannot escape it. It has helped shape me. God is good and I do not despise having walked in the sufferings of Christ for God's glory.

But the pressure to make those days stand out more than the next...I feel like that is where we are missing out on something far greater...

...And that is a daily walk and celebration of knowing the God of the Universe, the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the Holy God who adores us. Every. Single. Day.

Jesus. Every. Single. Day.

So, for me, as far as Christmas goes, I am aware that Jesus came as a baby to this earth 2000+ years ago. Every. Single. Day. I am also keenly aware and wordlessly thankful for what His life meant for all of mankind, for me specifically, as well as His death and resurrection. Every. Single. Day.

Believe me, I am not Scrooge. I love Christmas for the fun traditions, recipes, music, parties, and the opportunity to just give things to people for no particular reason, just because I can. I love the decorations, twinkling lights, the smells and the spirit that comes out in people. I am grateful God made the mountains capped with snow splashed with trees that never lose their green...because even the trees and rocks and all of creation shout praises to our God.

We've always told Em about a man named St. Nicholas who gave gifts to orphans which is where the tradition began, but it hasn't ever been the central theme at our home. I think she sat on his lap once or twice, but she wasn't impressed. No, for us it's been about family and being together...being an extension of Thanksgiving.

But, by any stretch of the imagination, I cannot justify that I give Jason and Emily and Ryan and others gifts because a long time ago Jesus was born and some wise men from the East made their way to Him to worship Him and shower Him with gifts fit for the King. They made their way to Him because God marked it in the sky to show these guys the way to the Truth, to eternal Life, to salvation...His very own star that led them to the feet of the Savior of the world.

No one really even knows when Jesus' birthday was, but most scholars and historians agree it was not December 25th. No, I give the people in my life gifts because I am thankful for them, not because I worship them. And I decorate because it's pretty. Does this mean I celebrate a pagan holiday? No.

So, what I think I've figured out is that, for me, it's okay to celebrate Christmas Every. Single. Day. Because it means I am celebrating the Life of Christ. It doesn't mean I have to put pressure on myself to justify the tree and stockings in order to make them "spiritual" in meaning.

Instead, it means if I am to celebrate the Life of Christ every day, it bears more responsibility, which is really nothing different from what I've known. That my life is not my own. That my attitude should reflect Christ. That I need to live life in a generous way, selflessly, giving to others...laying down my life for a friend.

That's not a one time a year thingy.

It's a lifestyle.

So, is Jesus the Reason for the Season? Kinda, sorta...

Jesus Christ is the Reason for Every. Single. Day.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Over it...

Yep. I'm over it.

I'm over blogging.

At least today I am so over blogging.

I am sick of posting about my kid that died.

I don't have time to post about the one that was just born because I am too busy spending time with him.

The 8 year old keeps me busier than busy.

I don't remember the last time I truly, really, I mean really, really, really showered.

Having an 8 year old meant that I had slept thru the night for the previous 7 years.

I'm not sure when I'll ever do that again.

It's one of those days.

I am cranky.

I don't even remember the last time I sat across a table from my husband for more than 2 minutes...and don't remember the last time I wanted to...and I'm sure there's a "vice versa" here...

He's tired.

I'm tired.

Ryan and Emily and Lady the dog don't seem all that exhausted...they seem quite rested seeing as how Ry naps throughout the day and most of the night...except when he squirms and squeaks...oh, and let's see, Lady pretty much naps all day long with the exception of when she has her freaking crazy hour right before it's time for bed and she wants to play ball and tug with her chew toys...and Emily, what about her? Since we've been homeschooling she has somehow managed to coerce her two middle-aged exhausted parents into thinking that allowing her to stay up a little later each night is a good idea.

This all equals exhaustion, crankiness, despondency and low quality high carb-consumption on the part of yours truly.

Oh, and since Em's hitting the sack later that means the only time I've seen my husband in the last 3 and a half months was at 3 recent Christmas attended by 30 people, another by 700+ and another with approximately 70.

Oh yeah, and since we're homeschooling, that means the last time I was all alone, all by myself, without anyone needing me was....ummmmm.....huh?! I guess it was when I was...I'm thinking, give me a minute...oh yeah, when I was in my MOTHER'S WOMB!!!!!!

And, I've realized that I still hate Christmas in the "American Consumerism Time-Sucking Gimme Gimme Gimme" sense of the word.

Somehow, someday, I want to figure out how to celebrate the Birth of Christ for what it truly is...the day the Savior of the whole wide world was born to save us from ourselves. It's something I am thankful for on a daily the pressure to make this specific time of year uber-spiritual is kind of frustrating!

So, how is your day?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"The path of least resistance..."

...was not meant for me to take. I'm learning how to live on the way."
- Elizabeth Hunnicutt, from her album On The Way (emphasis mine)

Here is a sneak peak at a video I made today that I'll be sharing with a local MOPS group on Tuesday.

It's crazy how 4 years later, looking at all these pics again, the tears still flow just as heavily. I get downright cranky looking at some of the pictures from Noah's stint, aka, life in the hospital. I get pissed that he was ever sick at all...and, I know they are brothers, but seriously!? Ryan looks exactly like Noah to me right now...and though I do stare at him and love on him for being himself, it's hard not to see Noah's face in Ryan's sometimes. Please pray that I can hold it together and share what is on my heart without being a slobbery, bawling mess.

Elizabeth gave me permission to use this song. She didn't realize as she wrote the words from her own heart that they would be words from my very own heart unable to be conveyed. I am so grateful that God has gifted some to be musicians! Thanks, Elizabeth!

(*And, Elizabeth's album is on sale right now in time for Christmas. And, be checking back on her site because she's debuting another album soon! I can't wait!)