Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

The advent/Christmas season is such a rich time for our family.  We have deep-seated traditions that add meaning and act as an "anchor" of sorts for our family.  My boys know that we will drive around in our pajamas looking out the foggy windows of our minivan to see every light display in nearby neighborhoods.  They count on making and icing Christmas sugar cookies...being sure to add as many sprinkles as possible.  My boys know that we will gather with our extended family for food and fun.  They know that we will watch Linus remind us of the "real meaning of Christmas" at least once each year...and they also know that I will wipe my moist eyes when sweet Linus has finished.  {grin}  Sam, Luke, Caleb, and Matthew will probably always expect to receive new pajamas each Christmas Eve (matching, of course).  My boys know that we will bake/decorate a birthday cake for Jesus and sing to him on Christmas day (although, I hope they don't remember that the only candle I had in the house this year was in the shape of a "9").  I hope that someday (if the Lord should tarry and they are blessed with family's of their own) my boys snuggle under warm blankets and read special books about the amazing gift God gave the world in His sweet baby boy, Jesus.

As much as I love these traditions, they make my parent's absence even more noticeable.  It's sort of a bittersweet time.  This time last year, my dad had just recently gone home to heaven and it was our second Christmas without my mom.  It's hard.  My own childhood was rich with family mom was crazy about Christmas!  My heart is filled with the joy of Christmas and my heart aches to celebrate with my parents.  Things are good...but, very different.  Sometimes, my heart longs for what used to be. 

More than any temporal feeling of happiness or sadness, my heart is filled with joy.  The kind of joy that comes from a friendship with Jesus.  What an amazing thing to know that God wanted so desperately to know us...really know us and for us to truly know the depth of His love for us - that He sent a baby.  As a mother, this part of God's plan is not lost on me.  A helpless, adorable, needy, sweet baby was sent to save the world.  Amazing.