Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Life Knocks You Down

When life knocks you down, get on your knees.

Three months ago, I buried my son. Two weeks ago, my grandfather passed away. Last week, a little boy that I love dearly went to heaven. (Please continue to pray for Landon's family as the hardest days are ahead). I'd be lying if I said I wasn't struggling right now. So many times I have asked God Why? and I don't try to hide that. God already knows what I am thinking, so I go ahead and talk to Him about it. I am so thankful for a God who hears my prayers. I am so thankful for a God I can talk to.

I skipped the traditional Thanksgiving holiday this year. There was no running from house to house eating way more food than I needed to and trying to figure out how to fit in time with all of the family. There was no hustle and bustle to get the Christmas tree up and run out to do Black Friday shopping. I spent the day with my mom cooking for someone else and listening to some hymns with a Bart Millard twist. And I loved it. I loved the simplicity of the entire day.

Christmas is coming up and we've decided to simplify it too. Now, don't think I'm going all "Grinch" or anything. We have a Christmas tree up that Audrey and I will decorate tonight. Our Elf on the Shelf, Buddy, makes his daily appearance, and yes, Santa will visit Audrey.

But I have made it my priority to ensure that Audrey knows Christmas isn't about Santa and presents. It is so easy for children to get caught up in that because we let them and we get caught up in too. They are watching us. They can get excited about those things, but at the same time understand why we celebrate. I am guilty of getting caught up in what Santa will bring her and forgetting to instill in her the whole reason for the time of celebration and why we choose to give gifts on that day.

We are stripping it down this year. We won't just read The Night Before Christmas, but we will read about Christ's birth. We will talk about Santa, but that he is not why we celebrate. Santa will visit, but he won't bring an abundance of toys that she doesn't need. Santa will bring her a few things, and then we will do for someone who wouldn't otherwise have Christmas. Since losing Barrett, Audrey has shown me how giving a child can be. She loves helping others and I want to instill that in her. I pray she never forgets the joy in giving to others.

I'm not stressing over Christmas shopping or what to get anybody, because we are only doing for Audrey and a child in need. And never in my life have I looked forward to a holiday so much. I cannot wait!

My plan is every year to pick a child that is close to the age Barrett would be that Christmas and buy for them. We will be doing this through the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program.

I am so looking forward to Christmas this year and spending time enjoying the family that God has blessed me with and finding ways to include Barrett in that also.


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