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December 07 Newsletter

December 12, 2007

 Celebrating Our Savior!

I hope this issue blesses you.  I have shared with you a very personal side of me this time.  I love how the Lord continues to use the pain in my life and grow me in his love, knowledge, and wisdom.  This is what my story is about. 

As mothers, we hold the lives of our children very dear.  Any pain they experience, we too experience.  This is true of our Heavenly Father.  As his children, he does not what us to hurt, but we still will experience difficult times and that is when he wants us to wrap ourselves around him and rest in his peace.

I pray that you will wrap yourself around the Savior and experience him in a way you never have before during this Christmas season.

To His Glory!

Dana

Creating Christmas Traditions

When I was young our house was full of Christmas traditions.  My mother made Christmas gifts, we baked and we decorated our house as much as possible.  It was so much fun.  There was always some Christmas music playing in the background.  I loved it, because we did things that I wanted to do all year, but it was reserved for Christmas.

When I became a mother I wanted to create my own traditions for my family, but what I have found is that we have created traditions without knowing it.  Our traditions became the things that we just loved doing the most so it was expected that we do it every year.

I love to bake so that is one thing that we do a lot of.  We like to bake up a nice variety of goodies and then package them in little baskets and deliver to our friends and neighbors.  This is our agenda for next week.  The girls and I are scanning the cookbooks already looking for new recipes to try!

Here is a short list of simple things we do to get ready for Christmas.  I try to make sure that my youngest ones understand that no matter what the TV says, Christmas is not about presents, it is about Jesus. 

  • Create a paper chain to count down the days until Christmas.  On each piece write someone to pray for, an activity to do or a scripture to read.
  • Pray for those who send you a Christmas card.  Thank God for them and ask him to bless them this new year.
  • Bake goodies and share it with your neighbors.  Include in the basket a tract or a homemade card telling the Christmas story from the Gospels
  • Volunteer at a local food pantry or homeless shelter.
  • Find a family to secretly bless this Christmas with gifts or a meal.
  • Starting a week before Christmas start reading the Christmas story and build your nativity set.  Each day add another figure to your scene so that by Christmas Eve Baby Jesus finally arrives.
  • Attend your church’s Christmas Eve service or a service closest to you.
  • Pray together as a family on Christmas Eve and read the Scriptural account together.  Spend some time together sharing what God has done for you this past year.

Understanding His Birth

I love the Christmas season.  When I was young, my mom always made Christmas an extra special time of year.  She would decorate the house from top to bottom many times with her own handmade decorations.  We would bake special desserts that were only made during Christmas and share them with friends who visited.  My sister and I always knew that Christmas was really about the birth of Jesus, but the presents and decorating were our favorite part.

When Scott & I married and I was left to begin my own traditions for my family.  We would decorate the house and find a big tree to decorate.  We would buy the kids tons of gifts and bake a lot of sweets.  It was a time of year when we did things that we normally did not do through out the year.  We told the kids that Christmas is really about celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We had a nativity set up and talked about it with the kids.  We tried to pass on to them an appreciation for the true meaning of Jesus, but I myself still didn’t have a  real deep understanding of Christ birth.

One Christmas changed all of that.  A few October’s ago we had found out we were pregnant and we were so excited.  This would be our ninth baby.  When my midwife came for my first check up I was feeling pretty well, which was not a normal feeling during the first trimester for me.  She tried to find the baby’s heartbeat but couldn’t find it.  We thought maybe it was too early so she would come back in a few weeks to try again.  As the days went on I began to feel some cramping, but I had done that in the past so once again I didn’t think much about it.  A few days before my midwife was to come back I began spotting.  I had never done that before and now I was really worried.  The morning of my appointment I told Scott that I knew that Renee would not find a heartbeat.  I knew the baby was dead.  My worst suspicions were confirmed.  There was no heartbeat.  She told me what would happen as my body would naturally begin to expel the baby.  She said it could only take a few days or it could take a few weeks.  I cried, not because I was afraid of what was about to happen, but because this baby that I already loved so much was dead inside my body.  I would never be able to hold and nurse this baby or kiss his fat little cheeks.

The days turned into weeks as my body slowly did what it knew to do.  We came into the Christmas season and I was not in the mood for Christmas cheer.  This was about celebrating Jesus, but I was still mourning my baby’s death.  I went through the motions of celebrating, but was not in it at all.  Then Christmas morning came and as I was helping my little ones open their gifts my body reached the peak of the miscarriage.  I was in horrible pain and knew what was happening.  I ran to the bathroom and cried out to God.  “Why on today would you let this happen to me?  How can I celebrate your sons’ birth when my body is discarding my dead baby?”  I spent the day at my in-laws in pain, emotional and physical pain.  I was feeling very sorry for myself and really just wanted to be at home in bed rather than pretending to enjoy Christmas Day.  That evening as the pain began to lessen I asked God again why this had to happen today of all days.  It was my worst Christmas ever.  Never again would I be able to celebrate the Christmas season without remembering losing my baby on Christmas Day. I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me. “Your baby was conceived to serve a purpose in my plan for you.  My son was conceived with a purpose; so he could die for you.  Your baby died so that you would understand my son’s birth.”  This realization pierced my soul.  I knew that it was ok to mourn the loss of my baby, and now I had a greater understanding of my Savior’s birth.  The pain I felt as my body progressed through the miscarriage was great, but the pain of my sin was even greater to my God.  I began to ask myself if I had the ability to control conception would I conceive a child knowing that he would be born to later die so that others would live; knowing that he wouldn’t just die, but that his death would be traumatic and excruciating.  I don’t think I could do this and my God did it for me!  He knew that we needed someone to walk among us and show us his love.  He knew that we would need Jesus, but he knew that it meant that his son would have to die so that we could live.  He would do away with the Old Testament covenant and Jesus would be the new covenant.  And for all of this to take place God orchestrated a brilliant plan to send Jesus to earth in a way that we all can relate to; as a baby born from an earthly mother.  I don’t know about you but the realization of what Jesus was born to do so that I, a selfish sinner, could live eternally with him in Heaven brings me to my knees in humble adoration.  I can’t even begin to describe to you the emotions that overcome me.  It is hard for my flesh to understand how and why anyone would do anything so great and sacrificial for one who has hurt him so deeply.  But that is why I am not God, because I could never do that, I am too selfish.  This miscarriage gave me an even clearer picture of God’s grace.  In his grace and mercy he gently led me into a deeper understanding of his son’s birth which resulted in the ultimate act of love for me.  I realized that God didn’t have to send his son to die, just like he didn’t have to allow me to conceive that baby, but he did.  He didn’t even have to let me wake up this morning, but he did.  Christian author and speaker, A.W. Tozer said, “Whom God will use greatly, he will hurt deeply.”  He loved me so much and wanted me to experience him in a deeper way and for this to happen I would need to experience a painful loss.  He knew my pain and my loss yet his was much greater than mine, but he loved me still; enough to send his son to earth to die for me, knowing how sinful I would be.  How can I not love him with all that I have in me?  How can I not devote my life to serving him?

So, we have Christmas; a time each year to remember that a baby wasn’t just born to live a perfect life, but he was born so that he could die for you and me.  I know that Christmas is a holiday that the world has commercialized in a huge way.  But for our family it is a time to stop and remember.  We can thank God for his son Jesus everyday.  We can remember everyday that Jesus came to earth to show us how to love God and each other and to die for us and even more amazingly he was raised from the dead.  I know that we don’t need a special day to do this, but taking that day is special.  Now when this time of year approaches I become especially mindful of what all God has done for us through out the year.  I understand his birth in a much deeper way and it has made a tremendous affect on my relationship with Christ.

I feel very blessed that the Lord not only gave me a spiritual reason for the miscarriage but the physical reason also.  We later found out that I actually had a virus that had attacked the baby causing it to die early on. I went through treatment, cleaned up my health by eating better foods and was soon pregnant again; this time with my first girl in 10 years. We gave her the middle name of Grace as a reminder of God’s abundant grace in our lives.  22 months later we welcomed another boy, our 10th little blessing.  I still hear the kids talk about the “baby who died in moms tummy” and that is all they remember.  But for me I will always remember the baby that helped me to come to a deeper relationship and love for my Lord Jesus Christ.  Every Christmas I thank my God for allowing me the very short time with that little one and for the way he so greatly blessed my life.

Please don’t let this Christmas come and go without going to your Lord Jesus Christ and thanking him for giving his earthly life for you.  Share this truth with your children and pray that they too would come to a deep understanding of the meaning of Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection.

There is a book that I enjoy reading with my children every year called, “One Wintry Night” by, Ruth Bell Graham; the late wife to Billy Graham, world renown evangelist.  This book will bless you as you read the story of Christmas beginning with creation and going all the way to Jesus resurrection.  The last few sentences in the book sum all of this very well, “Through his death and resurrection, the baby born in Bethlehem had become Lord of all.  This is the real meaning of Christmas, the joy and glory of it all!”

Christmas ResourcesWhen the Time was Fulfilled

This is a free E-Book download of Christmas and Advent readings.  Here is an excerpt from the website;

“The meditations in this collection are written by three seekers who struggled hard and long to find, in the words of Søren Kierkegaard, “the contemporary Christ.” They witness to the fact that the birth of Jesus is more than history – it is a reality – but only for those who feel their need and are personally ready to come to the manger.”

Joyful Hearts at Christmas

  This site has a huge collection of articles, stories, poems & bible studies that bring us all back to the true reason for the holiday.

Just for Fun!

Trim a Tree!

 

Dress up a Snowman!

 

Make a Gingerbread House

 

 

Our Favorite Books

The Gift of the Magi  This is one of our favorites.  Here is a summary from the website.

“One dollar and eighty-seven cents is all the money Della has in the world to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure-her long, glorious brown hair. This warm story of love, sacrifice, and generosity exemplifies the spirit of hope and giving and has earned a place as a timeless piece of American Literature. With delicately wrought watercolors by an award winning illustrator. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.”

One Wintry Night

This is a beautifully told story of the reason for Christ’s birth, told by the late Ruth Bell Graham.  She starts at the very beginning, Creation, and works her way through the scriptures ending with Jesus resurrection.  This one is great for all ages & the illustrations are fabulous!  This is almost our favorite.

Our Favorite Story – Luke 2:1-20

 

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