Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cherished Christmas Blessings That I Will Always Remember!

These last few days have been busy and eventful - and I have much to share!! I have been so abundantly blessed and I have been eager to blog about it and share my heart with everyone.

This is a Christmas I will never forget. I don’t even know if I can possibly name all the reasons, but I sure will mention several of them. The first one being that Christmas is always special and memorable because of what we are celebrating in the first place: the birth of Christ. Over 2,000 years ago, God sent His Son to redeem the people of the Earth. He sent His son to be born; knowing full well that He would die for our sins. Wow! Can you imagine looking at baby Jesus in the manger; knowing that He is the Savior and that He would one day die for the sins of the very people that He created!! What a Savior! What a wonderful God! It’s a truth so real and awesome that it’s sometimes hard to really comprehend and take in!! Thank you Jesus!! Happy Birthday!! I pray that you have received many Birthday presents this year and always - the gift of peoples’ surrendered hearts, giving to others in your Name, and telling others the truth of Your story!

The miracle of Christmas is what gives way to more miracles. God’s gracious gift and the celebration of the life of Christ enables us to have the joy and love in our hearts to love and give to others. That’s the spirit of the season. And, it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. I get far more joy watching my children, friends, and family, unwrap what we give to them than I do unwrapping my own gifts. It’s a beautiful thing to witness when you realize that something you gave to someone touched their heart, fulfilled a need, and made them smile. It’s priceless!

Some such moments came when my kids opened their gifts. I was happy to see how joyful and thankful they were when they opened their new little Bibles and Christian DVDs that we got them. In fact, they are watching their “Gospel Bible Songs” video right now! It always pleases me to see how these positive media choices influence their character and behavior. Sometimes, I hear them repeating things that they see and hear from the videos. It’s especially touching to hear them say “God made you special and He loves you very much” (as a result of Veggie Tales) or hear them make up their own prayers at dinner time as a result of watching children pray in the Boz the Bear videos. And, it’s also nice to hear them repeat from memory Bible stories and Christian books that we read to them. Even as I speak, Gianna is looking at the worn out Bible that is falling apart from so much use (which is why we bought new ones) and saying prayers. It’s just so touching!! You can’t put a price tag or a bow on a gift like that!!

Of course, they got so much more than that. We have LOTS of people in our families, and they are always showered with toys and clothing and things. We all have so much, and I am so grateful for everything that everyone shares and gives to us and for all the people we have in our lives!! We are SO BLESSED - and not just at Christmas, but all year round!! I only wish everyone could be as blessed as this. I feel badly for those that don’t have as much and it makes me all the more grateful for what I have and makes me want to share and give to others even more.

In addition to giving, I also received a lot of special and meaningful gifts. I received the gift of being with family and friends as well as the blessing of material gifts. I’m not going to list everything, but I will talk about two things that particularly touched my heart. The first item is a beautiful heart necklace with diamonds and rubies. Mitch surprised me with it. We had already got each other things months ago as early presents and so we weren’t going to get anything else. However, Mitch wanted to express just how much he loves me with a special surprise that he picked out all on his own and chose especially for me as an expression of his heart. It was particularly meaningful to both of us, because we have been through a lot together this year. So, that necklace that he chose for me was a symbolic expression of how he was giving me his heart; which God has truly transformed into something even more beautiful and new this year! And, the fact that it has my birthstones in it too, makes his heart my heart as well. I just see so much meaning in that gift. It’s beyond every girl’s dream of receiving jewelry on Christmas. That necklace meant so much more and says so much!! The meaning and the memories will be forever connected with it! It speaks to me of a heart that was changed, prayers that were answered, and the promise of a lasting love and enduring marriage that was ordained by God. You just can’t put a price on that gift either! It’s untouchable!! The best gifts are the kind that no one can touch or destroy; the things that aren‘t purchased in dollars. That is why God tells us to store up treasures in heaven; the things that moth and rust never destroy…..the things that the enemy can never steal or take away from us. Material things (even that necklace) will get old and tarnish, but the true wealth of it will remain forever!!

Another surprising and meaningful gift that I received was a new winter coat. It was something that I truly needed and had been putting off getting for myself because the kids and Mitch needed one more than I did. Plus, I reasoned that it wouldn’t be worthwhile to get a new coat since I will be continuing to lose more weight. So, I figured I would wait until next year………again. ;) LOL Little did I know that my Dad and Lauri had seen the need and decided to bless me with such a warm and beautiful coat!! I was so happy I cried! It’s just overwhelming and touching when someone sees a need in your life and then blesses you with it!! You just can’t put your thanks into words and it speak volumes of love to you! That’s how I felt as I put it on and let the beauty and warmth wrap around me as I contemplated on the love and generosity behind the gift.

It was that gift of a winter coat that made me think of how God must have been thinking about us when he sent Jesus. He saw our deepest need. He KNEW that we needed Christ!! He gave Him to us because He loved us and wanted to bless us with salvation and eternal life. Even though it meant giving away HIS most precious gift and sacrificing so much to give it to us, He did it because he loves us and because He knew and seen our deepest need - even if we didn’t.

So, that’s my own “Christmas” story! ;) And, speaking of Christmas stories, our Christmas Eve drama (“A Christmas Tale”) went VERY WELL!! I enjoyed performing, and everything progressed nicely!! It’s amazing, because we all overcame a lot of obstacles to be able to do that drama. There were a lot of glitches and changes and a lot of hard work on the part of the cast, director, band, and tech team. I appreciate everyone’s hard work and sacrifice, and am glad that I got to be a part of it!! When I get the DVD, I will be sure to upload it online so that all of you can see!

I know that Christmas has been a hard time for many of you this year. But, I pray that the joy and love could be found in the midst of the turmoil. Regardless of our troubles, there is much to be thankful for. Compared to many around the world, we have it so easy!! I’m just glad that we have a Savior we can count on to ease our burdens and be our comfort and strength!! So, to my two best friends, you know how much I deeply love, care, and cherish you. I am always thinking of you and praying for you!! I’m always here for you!! Hang in there and remember you always have a friend to lean on…….as well as leaning on the “everlasting arms” of the Father!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! OXOXO

God bless you everyone!! I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and that the New Year will be full of amazing blessings for all of us!! May God direct and guide our paths and keep us safe always!!

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