Saturday, January 9, 2016

Winding up our Christmas celebration with a slightly delayed Epiphany celebration!

Today was a special day for my family!  We actually had the continuation of our Christmas celebration.  The end of the day is pictured above!  Ken bought me an amazing new diamond ring for Christmas that just arrived today!  We have talked about a new ring on various anniversaries, but Ken decided that this was the right time.  After 43 years, it feels really different to see so much bling on my finger.  Rest assured I will get used to it.  I love that there are two diamonds that represent Ken and I and they are wrapped in a rose gold band.  This picture does not do the ring justice.  It is simply beautiful.  

We began the day at Build a Bear where Doug and Susie gifted Lia, Ellie, Zeke and Anna their very own "Lucas Bear" for Christmas.  It was a wonderful experience to watch the kids each pick their own bear, place a heart inside and then stuff their bear.  Susie and Doug were generous and allowed the kids to each pick an outfit for their bears.
While the girls made the choice to get girl clothes for their bears, they are still Lucas bears and will be a soft, squishy reminder of baby Lucas, who is never far from our thoughts.  Zeke gets the prize for selecting a Blackhawks hoodie along with ice skates for his Lucas bear.  
After the bears were stuffed and fluffed (yes, they have a station that lets the kids fluff and comb their bears!) and clothed, they got their birth certificates.  All the kids named their bears Lucas bear.  Even Anna wanted to do this, with a lot of help from daddy!  

After leaving Build a Bear, all of the kids got a ride on the carousel in the middle of the mall.  Then all 10 of us actually made a stop at one of the mall stores that had an unbelievable sale.  Think 75% off!  By the time we were done with that stop, we were all ready for some lunch.  We had a great lunch at a family favorite, Portillos!  What a wonderful time of just talking, laughing and eating.  It was such a great way to start the new year.  When we all went our separate ways, Ken and I picked up my delayed Christmas gift.  

We were a bit beyond Epiphany, but I was still thinking about how great it is to end our Holiday celebration with the thought of Epiphany in mind.  It was particularly fitting that it ended with some gold!  Our laughter and the many hugs and smiles were certainly a praise offering from our family in celebration of the birth of Jesus. I recently blogged that there was joy returning to our family.  Today was a day filled with much joy.  Even in missing Lucas, in remembering him with soft bears to cuddle, we have love and hope and family.  I can't think of a better way to complete Christmas.

I am so thankful for Jesus and the peace and hope that has been given to our family since Lucas died. There are so many families that have lost children and sadly, some do not have that peace and hope because they don't have Jesus.  I am more convinced than ever that sharing Jesus is the most important thing that can happen in 2016.  

As we were driving home, snow was softly falling.  This has been a warm, rainy winter so far.  So the snow was just one more tie to Christmas.  Who doesn't appreciate a tiny bit of snow on Christmas?  Yes, today ended warm and cozy, with a sparkly new ring and wonderful memories of a great day.

Jesus, I am so, so thankful for you!  For your amazing gift of eternal life and that wonderful peace and joy.  Holy Spirit, give us courage and wisdom each day to know when to share about Jesus.  Jesus, thank you for walking with my family, with me, and bringing joy back to us.  Amen

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