We had a very blessed Christmas celebration. It was not the exact celebrate that we had planned, but it was wonderful. We all gathered at Gwen and Tim's house in the morning and we spent the day together. We ate. We laughed. We opened presents. We ate some more. We played games. We talked. We ate again. And we laughed some more. We made cookies and we ate some more! And we played more games! Yes, it was a wonderful and very full day.
Making the day even more special were these amazing gifts from Doug and Susie. Over the years, Susie has made a large frame for me with pictures of "Grandma and ......" for each of the grandchildren. This year I received a frame for Anna and I and we also received this frame of Lucas with the family. I know that this was most likely very difficult for Susie to spend time choosing pictures and assembling this frame. And that makes it even more special to me. Now our wall of frames is complete. I think these frames represent the love that is the grounding force of our family.
Susie and Doug pressed through, and completed these difficult projects out of love. I feel the love every time I look at these frames and each time I see those wall hangings.
Today the weather was........well awful. It started with a cold wind and rain/sleet. And then there was more sleet and more wind. And then it began to snow and sleet. It actually built up to more than 2 inches of sleet/snow covering the ice that had formed on everything. Yes, it was really an icky day. I canceled the plans I had to spend the day with Gwen and the kids and instead, spent the entire day in the nice warm house. It was nice to have a day to just let the holiday celebrations "sink" into my spirit. There were so many great memories - so many little snapshots of joy and hope. And mixed in was the reality of missing Lucas, who is always in our thoughts. And there was so much love.
Our family has made a shift away from giving THINGS and towards ACTIVITIES that we can share. If we have learned one thing during this last year, it is the power of just being together. One of the things we did yesterday was "calendar coordination"! We planned events out into the next few months. And we made sure that there were lots of dates on the calendar. We have much to look forward to. Again, so much love.
I can't think of anything more important to sow into my family tree than a legacy of love. Jesus IS love and when we share in activities together, we are sharing the love of Jesus in very real ways. Susie and Doug brought ornaments to make together with the kids. It was so much fun watching them create Santas and Snowmen! Watching the kids play games together - including the adults - was such an expression of love. Doug and Zeke playing a rousing game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Susie and Lia and Ellie playing a silly game of Twister. Gwen and I playing Shopkins Bingo with Lia and Ellie. It may seem so "ordinary" but today it feels "special" to me.
In my "musings" today, I was thinking about these Bible verses....
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3
Yes, this Christmas was a picture of these verses for our family. Lots of joy instead of mourning. And our family tree is a planting of the Lord for a display of His splendor. I know that without Jesus, our family would not be doing these "ordinary" things with so much joy. It is because of Jesus that we celebrate His great love by sharing together in hope and joy. It is Jesus who has turned our ashes into beauty. And I am so grateful for Christmas and the chance to see his love in action.
Jesus, thank you so much family and fun and fellowship together as we celebrate your birthday. Holy Spirit, remind us all that your love brings light instead of darkness. Jesus, thank you for hope instead of despair. Amen