This Christmas

It was not an ordinary Christmas.

My shopping was last minute, our tree remained in the box and our mantle was bare. Joey was gone most of the week, working 17 services in 9 days (Though what better way to “work” at Christmastime than helping people encounter Jesus?!). I trained clients on Christmas Eve morning. And since we live in Tulsa now, we didn’t stay at Joey’s parents’ house, so we missed out on all the adult game/movie time that happens once the kids are asleep. It just didn’t feel right.

For a moment on Wednesday evening, as Joey was driving home from the last Christmas Eve service and I was simultaneously putting the kids to bed, we felt a little sad. But I believe the Lord spoke to us each individually in the next moment: Christmas is happening anyway because Christ was born. With or without holiday music or fresh garland on the mantle or packages wrapped in bows, our Savior brought light to our darkness. In 2014–a tough year for us–Christmas was stripped of all its tinsel down to its treasure: Jesus’ birth.

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Amen.

Some beautiful moments this Christmas:

  • Finn’s retelling of the Nativity story of Mary and Joseph and “Baby Jesus Paisley.” And the sheep. IMG_9781
  • Paisley turned 6 months old on Christmas Day.IMG_9731 IMG_9779
  • Finn and Everett played so well together. We’ve got to work on sharing (particularly trains), but it was so fun to watch the cousins giggle, wrestle and play. Everett even tried out Finn’s wheelchair! IMG_9763
  • Christmas morning with Joey’s family…five children under three years old. Becky always makes it so special. IMG_9747

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    The cousins…and Finn has Paisley in a choke-hold.

  • Christmas Eve service at LifeChurch.tv. It compelled my heart to worship and my knees to bow.

    Love this place.

    Love this place.

  • White fluffy snowflakes falling Saturday as we celebrated the holiday with Joey’s extended family. IMG_9798
  • Finn got accepted to Children’s Learning Adventure, a huge new childcare center with full accessibility. It’ll cost a mortgage payment, but that’s a sacrifice we are happy to make so he’s able to get a quality early education and play on the playground with his peers.IMG_9803 IMG_9804
  • Our new house is beginning to feel like a home. We absolutely love it!  So many projects left to do, but that’s all part of the fun.

May the reality of Christ’s coming infiltrate your daily lives, not just your holiday season. Blessings!

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Bring Your Gifts

I’m all out of frankincense, but I have a few gifts to offer the Child King this year.

When you love, you give.

I love Joey, so I can’t help myself from buying him gifts…even if we agree not to. And when I see something at a store–hummus at Whole Foods, for example–I buy it for Pascha and Laura because they love it and I love them. When Finn wants the last bite of my cookie, he gets it.

And I love my Lord. I’m longing to give to Him. But what can I offer the Almighty? Everything I have is because of Him anyway.

Life has been whirling around us this Christmas season. I feel like I’m inside the snow globe. All I have to show for decorations is this tiny tinsel tree.

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I will offer Him my home anyway.

Despite the lack of festivity in my home, my heart may be more prepared for Christ’s coming than ever before. LifeChurch.tv’s worship series, Come to Worship, has been gently drawing my heart nearer and nearer to the manger–that stinky cave where the King of Kings chose to make His arrival, bringing beauty to my ugly. I will offer Him my heart.

As a personal trainer, I only get paid when my clients show up, and I’ve had six cancellations in the past two days. I will offer Him our money. Because it’s His anyway.

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Come see me at Sky Fitness & Wellbeing!

I’m a really good trainer. I haven’t always been able to say this with confidence, but over the years I’ve seen enough clients’ lives change because of an hour or three per week of training with me. I can say that’s a gift. It’s also my ministry. I aim to nourish the whole person as I train…mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and of course, physically. I offer Him my gifts of coaching and career.

I wish I was as good of a mom as I am a trainer. I sometimes feel unnatural and ill-equipped as a parent…especially in the middle of the night. But I sure love my kids. Goodness, I love them with everything in me. They are my heart. My nose gets all sting-y just thinking about their beautiful faces. Finn’s obsession with Thomas continues, he delivers astonishingly clear sentences, and has been working on walking using the RGO with our Sooner Start therapist.

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Paisley is no longer colicky. Praise Jesus! But she’s become the happiest, flirtiest baby during the day and the crankiest, loudest baby at night. She bunny hops on all fours and can walk if you hold her hands. She smiles for her brother like no one else.

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Paisley and Nana Deb at Thanksgiving

Paisley and Nana Deb at Thanksgiving

Dedication Day

Dedication Day

Baby will be 6 months old on Christmas Day. Can’t believe it. I offer Him my kids.

Jesus, thank you for giving Yourself. Your gift makes all mine pale in comparison. Still, I offer you my life.

Listen to LifeChurch.tv’s song, We Lift You High. Its lyrics inspired this post. And join us for Christmas services!