This Christmas season was interesting for us in many ways. The snow and cold make it easier to get into the holiday spirit, but with our San Diego bison delivery when it was, we were focused on that and not able to focus on Christmas until just a week or so ago.
We have all the usual Christmas stories that we read each year and the kids laugh at me because I BLUBBER all the way through them. But this year I made it all the way through "The Crippled Lamb" without even crying (okay, so it IS a cute story and I did get just a tiny bit choked up, but really just a TINY bit). I was almost indignant and cynical about them this year. Christmas isn't about some forlorn little lamb keeping baby Jesus warm. Not that there is anything wrong with those stories, but they are just sentimental stories that keep us in the "feel good, warm fuzzies" of the season and keep our eyes off of the importance of what really happened that night so long ago when the gospel came to Earth. Amazing. The gospel always existed, the plan was always there, but that night when the angels proclaimed that they had "tidings of great joy that would be for all people", they meant what they said. The plan was set in motion and life on Earth would never be the same. They brought the best news ever : A Savior, a bridge to God, hope, sin forgiven not just covered, real grace. "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God, He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made..... And the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." WOW. That is some serious stuff to chew on. How could He? Why would He? The great God of heaven and Earth, the eternal God, the sovereign God of the ages came to Earth to redeem His people.
Christmas is such fun. I love the decorating, the baking, the preparations, the family traditions, the gift-giving, the gift-getting, the music, all the fun things that go on, everything. But they mean nothing compared to what God gave us in Jesus' birth. That truly is something to celebrate.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Temperatures were in the negatives and snow was a-blowing when we entered Kalispell after leaving San Diego. Although there were winter storm warnings throughout the state, we didnt' hit any real snow until 63 miles south of home. When we got here, we were amazed - what a beautiful sight. Had it not been for the Millers efforts in shovelling our driveway multiple times, we would never even had made it in. It was nice to be home....have I told you that I love Montana?
We just got the most amazing pre-Christmas gift. It arrived from Brad's cousin, Donald, and his wife Mamie. Donald and Mamie live in Athens, Georgia and are both professional musicians (among other things - talented people!). Mamie plays in the Athens symphony and also plays in various bands in the area. She has also recorded with R.E.M. Donald has had a popular blues band in Athens for years. They are both outstanding musicians and we had the pleasure of spending time with them at a family reunion last August. Mamie had a violin that she wasn't using and so they had it fixed up and surprised us by sending it this week. It is beautiful - it is an acoustic/electric with a fifth string. We are all so excited. What a blessing! Thanks, Donald and Mamie - we love you - and the violin too! One person, in particular, is really excited to play.
Isaiah turned 10 years old on the road. Driving 14 hours through Southern Utah, Nevada, and the desert of California (groan - and L.A. even) is not a great way to celebrate a birthday, but he didn't complain even once. We started out Isaiah's day in SLC, UT heading toward San Diego. We arrived at the Curles late that night and so celebrated the next day with them. We went out to lunch that day (at our beloved and missed taco shop), and had cake and tacos that night. Because of the guilt of being on the road and him not getting a normal birthday, he was able to milk it for all it was worth. And his birthday extended until our trip was over on the 18th.....when we arrived back in MT, we had tons of snow (just for him) and gifts waiting.
Isaiah is a great kid. He is extremely motivated, helpful and exceptionally cheerful. I always know that I can depend on him to get things done. He is always finished with his work and on to his own adventures before some of the others even begin their work. He is such a sweet kid and will often help a sibling with their work so that they won't miss out on some fun. What would we ever do without him?
I cannot believe he is ten. I remember a time when he had just turned 4 and we were going to Josiah's tee ball game. Josiah had gone early with Brad and he had forgotten some item. Isaiah wanted to get out to the field and give it to Josiah right away and begged to walk from the parking lot over there by himself. I was still getting the littler people out of the car and I let him go. As I watched him, walking tall, all the way over there with his cute, little stride, it hit me hard that this was a first break into Independence and that one day he would be all grown up and not my baby anymore. Funny, but the moment is etched so deeply in my mind; my little man, heading out into the big world.
My little man keeps getting bigger and growing smarter and figuring things out. I look forward to the young man and the grown man that he will be one day. God will do great things with him. I am so thankful that he is mine - he is one of my most cherished blessings. Happy Birthday, dear Isaiah, Happy Birthday to you!!