Both of these were made with love by the girls. Ellie told me that the snowflake was pink and purple because those are her favorite colors. And it has a star in the middle, because she loves stars. Lia said she made a rainbow angel because she loves rainbows.
This has been the year of the angel. And the rainbow. And hope in the promises of Jesus. I love that the girls decided exactly what these ornaments should look like. I love when Jesus speaks to me through children. When I hold that rainbow ornament in my hand, I can feel the sorrow lift from my spirit, and sense the joy and hope that the promises hold. And that sparkly star in the center of the snowflake reminds me of the star of Bethlehem.... that draws people to the miracle of Jesus.
Our Christmas Day was very quiet. Ken and I actually went out for breakfast. I know this may seem really silly on such a day, but our little local diner was open, so we decided to go. It was very pleasant. I was thinking about the year I nearly burned our house down! It is sort of a "family legend"! I was cooking breakfast in the kitchen and the rest of the family was in the living room. I had lit the Advent wreath that was sitting on top of our entertainment unit. I glanced into the room and saw flames coming from the wreath. There was a burn mark on top of that piece of furniture as a reminder of that event! Needless to say, I never quite lived that down. I believe that was the last real Advent wreath that we had that had regular candles. I switched to jar candles after that! Yes, I love all the memories of past Christmas'. Later in the day my oldest brother called me. I have to admit that we don't talk often. In fact, I don't remember the last time we chatted. We tend to stay in touch via email. So this was a surprise. For many years, I saw my brother several times each year when I visited my mom. Since she died in 2011, I haven't seen him!
In fact, I looked through my pictures and this picture is the last shot I have with my sister and brother with my mom. It was taken in August of 2010. After our conversation I was thinking about some Christmas memories I have of my brother Jerry. I don't think that Jerry would even know this story. The first present that I received from someone other than my parents (or Santa) that created a memory came from Jerry. I was 6 and in first grade. He was getting ready to leave for a tour of duty in the Army. He gave me "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" book and a Stadium Checkers game. I believe that this book is now on the book shelf at Gwen's house. I kept that book and read it over and over. I remember reading it to both of my children. It was the first book that was actually mine - that I did not have to return to the library! And I loved getting a game that was a "real" game. As a matter of fact, this is one of my best memories of Christmas from my childhood.. Even typing this makes me a bit sad that I have never shared this with Jerry! I guess I will have to remedy this by giving him a call!
So my day included some thoughts of times long past. I am so thankful that it also included hanging these special new ornaments on my tree. This has been such a difficult year, yet in the midst of it all, there are the angels.....and the rainbows.....and the star. And there have been phone calls and memories. And there has been time together. And there is hope.
Yes, it was a Christmas day unlike any we have had in the past. It was quiet. But in that time of quiet, there was the presence of Jesus. I felt the love of Jesus over breakfast with Ken. I felt the promises of Jesus as I hung that angel ornament. I felt the hope and joy of Jesus in that star glistening on my tree. I felt connected to my family tree and all that Jesus has sown into my generations in the phone calls with my sister and brother. It was a full day. And it was good.
Jesus, thank you for speaking to me through my grandchildren. Help me to be open to hear your voice over all the sorrow and pain. Holy Spirit, give me grace to walk through changes. Help us all to know your very real presence with us. Amen