Despite my inability to live in the moment most of the time, when I look back over the Christmas season this year, I am so thankful for many things. We are obviously mindful of the blessing it is to have 3 healthy children at home. After Mclaine's arrival and stay in the NICU, we were reminded that life is fleeting, though thankfully we have the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and that we should treasure this time in our lives. Although not comparable, when I read the Christmas story from the book of Luke this morning, Luke 2:19 took on special meaning for me, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Some of the wonderful things I've been pondering this season include:
- Family Advent and worship time - the boys really got into Advent this year and back in October we also started having family worship time each evening, so every night Miller would ask, "...are we gonna have family worship time tonight?" They also both love to sing, and it was wonderful to hear them each evening sing out on Christmas carols like, "Angels We Have Heard on High" (the boys' favorite), "Joy to the World", "Away in a Manger", and "Silent Night". I have some separate video clips of them singing and I'll try to upload those when I can (obviously after Christmas).
- Christmas Eve service - we love our church and the Christmas Eve service has become a tradition in our home since we try to stay home for Christmas Day each year. The worship is amazing and the message each year is always spot on without being the same Christmas sermon you've heard before. Going back to the boys and their singing--I got a little teary-eyed last night when I looked at my two oldest boys and watched them worship the Lord at Christmas. If that doesn't make your Christmas, nothing will!
- Jesus' birth - so can I confess, that I've always felt weird singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus? I mean, I know that we celebrate His birth at Christmas, but taking something so common, like the happy birthday song, has always been awkward for me. Having said that, this year was completely different because of the way Maxwell and Miller responded to the birth of Jesus. Several times a day, I would see them playing with our Little People Nativity set. Then today, we wrapped up the baby Jesus from the set and another baby Jesus that Miller made at a playgroup this month, and as we read Luke 2, we had the boys move Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and the Wise Men (we also read the account that tells about them) into place, but asked where baby Jesus was. We then had them open their gifts to find baby Jesus waiting to be put in the manger. They were so excited to see baby Jesus...and my thoughts on having a birthday celebration for Jesus are forever changed.
Those are just a few of the highlights of our Christmas. Our prayer is that you are able to celebrate the joy of Christmas now and the gift of eternal life through Jesus forever--Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Matt, Maria, Maxwell, Miller & Mclaine