Christmas

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Happy Birthday JesusI love Christmas. I love the smells, the lights, the feeling of giving. But every year for me it’s a struggle to work with my daughter to reminder her that Christmas is’t about the gifts or Santa, it’s about Jesus. And my very favorite Christmas tradition has become baking a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas eve, singing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning, then eating cake for breakfast. This year, while making the cake, my daughter turned to me and asked, “Mom, how old is Jesus turning?”

For SantaIn years past, we always made cookies for Santa as well, but this year be tried something different. We cut Santa a piece of Jesus’s birthday cake because, “Santa would like to celebrate Jesus’ birthday too. After all, that’s why Santa brings us gifts.” My daughter thought that was a good idea. Our singing to Jesus the next morning involved a cake with a slice missing, but that was okay – Santa deserved it.

Another thing we tried this year was dialing down the Santa gifts. In the past, Santa brought a bunch of stuff, and so did Mom and Dad. Our daughter isn’t spoiled, but it was hard to figure out where to limit things. I read about doing wise men gifts – just 3 – so that’s what Santa did. Santa brought 3 gifts: one fun thing, one thing she needed, and one thing to help her grow closer to God. Santa also filled her stocking (and hides the pickle ornament, which is an awesome tradition, btw), and that was it. All other gifts came from Dad and Mom. It was a great way for us to tone down Santa, but still have a bit of the fun. (And since she’s four, she didn’t remember the prior years; it was an easy switch.)

Christmas TreeThe final thing we’d focused on through the month of December was our daughter’s giving stocking (another idea I found online – you can read about them here). Rather than have her regular stocking hanging up all month for her to think about being filled, we found a small stocking to hang in it’s place. When my daughter was helpful or kind, we put a bit of money in her stocking. Once the month was over, she added up her money and got to choose something to buy from www.samaritanspurse.org. She wanted to buy a cow, but she didn’t *quite* have enough money – so some chickens had to do this time. She looked forward to being a good helper and getting to earn money to help someone who was less fortunate than us through the month instead of thinking about the goodies Santa was going to put into her Stocking – a drastic improvement, and a change we will be keeping (this is the second year we did this, and is was better understood by her at age 4 than age 3. I’m assuming it’ll work even better as she gets older).

Waiting

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My Brother-in-Law went in for MAJOR surgery on weds to remove cancer (which had been in remission for ten years). My husband needed to go to work, but I planned to spend the day (and night if necessary) with my Sister-in-law and Mother-in-law in the waiting room. I worked it out for my mom to watch my daughter, picked up snacks and other fun stuff for the waiting room, and was ready to go. Tuesday morning came (the day before the surgery), and my husband started throwing up.

I waited the day out to see if it was just something he ate or if it was the flu. He continued throwing up all day and feeling ill, so heavy-hearted, I called my SIL and let her know. I told her that while I wasn’t sick, my husband was. We thought it might be food, but if she didn’t want me to come, just in case, I wouldn’t. She asked me not to come. I agreed, and told her that in her place, I’d probably say the same.

Wednesday came and my husband was still sick (it was the flu). It’s Saturday now and I’m still fine, as is our daughter. My BIL went in for surgery prep around 5:30 am and started the surgery around 9:30. It was incredibly difficult sitting at home doing nothing. I didn’t have my daughter to distract me. Instead, I had a sick husband sleeping on the couch. I could have done some work, but I was physically tired and mentally drained. So I sat and waited.

Waiting was SO hard. I felt so useless. I wanted to help. I wanted to sit there with my SIL. I wanted to bring her food. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to provide comforting words. I wanted to just be there for her. It was so hard to sit at home and do nothing. Well, nothing but pray. And while praying is great, is wasn’t something tangible – especially for people who aren’t sure if prayer works. I was frustrated, angry, sad, and antsy.

I took a shower to clear my head and I realized that sometimes the very best thing to do in some situations is to respect another’s wishes and to stay away. And pray. I needed to not underestimate the power of prayer – not toss it away so lightly.

More importantly, I realized that this my method for sharing the gospel, though I didn’t realize it. I want SO BADLY to sit my friends and family down who don’t know Jesus and just tell it to them straight, but that’s not what they want – not right now. So I respect their wishes, I wait, and I pray. Sometimes I feel just as useless as I did on Wednesday, sitting at home away from my SIL, but my lack of presence spoke to her then: that I respect her wishes, and am thinking about her and praying. I hope that my lack of pressure on family and friends speaks just as loudly: that I respect who they are, refuse to change myself, and I pray for them. It’s a fine line to walk as I repeatedly remind them of what is important to me without cramming it down their throats. I don’t ever want to deny my faith, ignore it or not share when opportunities arise, but I will wait for my family and friends to lead (and more importantly, for the Lord to lead), because sharing the gospel isn’t about me telling people in my time frame, it’s about them hearing the word when they are ready. (Just like my BIL’s surgery wasn’t about me sitting with my SIL, but her needing the support that was in her and BIL’s best interest.) And prayer? Prayer is a great way to figure out when the correct timing is, and prayer makes me feel much more proactive.

Still Alive

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Just a brief post to say I’m still here…

100 orders in my Christmas queue (after I just sent 80)

Got the new cat, then my daughter broke her tooth and it needed to be pulled. Then a family medical emergency (still dealing with that one). Will be back to continue posts once my orders are out (likely after Christmas). But wanted to let you know I am still here! 🙂

A Christmas Nativity Story

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nativity toysMy daughter loves Legos, imitation or otherwise. She also loves her Nativity that comes out once a year. As she is not allowed to touch my nativity, I am also not allowed to touch hers (we have an understanding). For your enjoyment, I would like to share the story she told me about her church and her nativity:

All the adults are having a meeting (at Church, you will note). And Jesus isn’t invited. (Again, please note that Jesus isn’t invited to Church!) Apparently Jesus isn’t invited because He’s a baby and babies cannot come to the adult meetings – He needs to hang out in a different room for the kids. Once Jesus is an adult he is okay to come. But for now He will need to be babysat by the Disney Princesses and my 4 year old (not pictured). In case you were curious, her church’s name? Kitty Church.