Posts Tagged With: christmas

The Greatest Gift of All

Baby Sparkles. My little 4-year-old self had been mesmerized with her commercials for months. Those big, blue eyes. Those curly, blond locks. That crown that lit up when her head was tipped back. My heart almost ached with hopes that she’d be under the tree that Christmas morning.

The picture was shaky as the cameraman, my grandpa, tried to follow the dancing four-year-old on the screen darting from one corner of the room to the next. Christmas music filled the background muffling the adult conversations scattered around the room. A blonde six-year-old sat next to the tree admiring the lights and little glass ornaments. My sister. Soon presents were passed around the room. The four-year-old settled down next to her sister and brightly colored wrapping paper flew through the air.

“Baby Sparkles!! Grandma! I love her so much! Thank you grandma! Every inch of that wiggly four-year-old overflowed with delight. Grandpa’s camera scanned the room for the older sister only to find her sulking in the corner.
“And what did you get?” Grandpa cleared his throat.
“Baby Sparkles.” Disappointment oozed from every syllable.
“But don’t you like your baby sparkles?”
Suddenly the six-year-old bursts into tears. “NO. I wanted a DOG, not baby sparkles!”

Baby Sparkles. I can still picture her in my mind. I’d asked for her every day that fall, and holding her was like magic. My sister, well, not so much. Now that the anguish of not getting that puppy has subsided, we both can laugh as we watch our smaller selves so enveloped in the Christmas magic.

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Today as I pick up the Christmas paper strewn across our family room floor and admire the twinkling tree lights one last time before they are hidden under the stairs for the next eleven months, I smile. Baby sparkles is long gone. The Legos that scatter the floor will someday loose their shine. And that’s ok. Somewhere between baby sparkles and lego knights for my boys the magic changed…or maybe just became more clear. The best gift of all has always been the gift of being together with those I love, creating memories that won’t get old or loose their shine. With my parents in Malaysia this holiday season and the passing of loved ones, the gift of memories has been even more magical.

I hope your Christmas was filled with the magical gift of being with those you love and remembering Christmases past. That, for me, has been the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas memories from our family to yours!

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I Believe.

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2014 has been a year of incredible joy for our family and those we love. Babies being brought into the world, more on the way, weddings, and wonderfully magical memories. But inexpressible sadness and heartbreak has certainly been no stranger to our circle of loved ones. While in many cases my pain could not even hold a candle to those more directly affected, I have had moments this year that I honestly didn’t know if my heart could hold any more sadness. The trials that we have watched those we dearly care for face are simply unimaginable. Yet their faith and courage to go on has been inspiring and amazing.

My heart has been heavy this week with news of yet another loss to a sweet friend of mine. Tears fell as I read the obituary and thought of his amazing wife of so many years left behind. Their pure example of love and dedication to each other and their family will forever be in my heart.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life. Even though he knew he could heal Lazarus and bring him back from the dead after four days, when he saw Mary’s pain and sadness and that of the crowd, He wept (John 11). He knew, yet he grieved with them. Jesus wept! Why would he if he knew in just a few minutes he would call Lazarus back from the bonds of death and the sadness would be turned to joy? I believe that Jesus knows our pain. He not only knows, but he’s felt it for each one of us. He intimately knows our sadness and grief and, because he loves us, he feels it too. And I believe he’s right there to carry us when we can no longer go on. I believe Jesus paved the way so that we might live once more. Death is not the end.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

I believe that families are not just something for now, but forever. Our associations and those we love does not end with death. We can be together again.

“…we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny. The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions–temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting…” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

This Christmas season I believe more than ever before that Jesus Christ was born to this earth for a purpose. He is the Saviour of the World. I believe that because He loves us, he not only suffered for our sins, but also for our grief and pain. He knows each of us so personally, so intimately. I believe he can help us through even the most trying of times. I’ve witnessed it time and time again this year. He can mend broken hearts and give hope where none is left. I believe.

IMG_0220 I’m so thankful for this Christmas and the reminder of Him. It is through Him I’ve seen others carried as they have experienced pain and grief so great only He could comprehend. it is through Him that we can once more be with those we love who have passed on. The greatest gift of all.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Grinchy-Mom’s Week Before Christmas

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Twas the week before Christmas and Mom was a mess.

Instead of holiday happy greetings, all she felt was distress.

“Only five days till Christmas! It’s practically here.”

She grumbled and bristled, felling no sort of cheer.


Christmas cards strewn the table, cookie cutters filled the sink,

Wassail steamed from the kettle for carolers to drink.

The festivities had started, everything had the appearance of jolly.

But Mom, well, she was a grump, and seemed rather melancholy.


“Don’t pull on the ornaments!” “Ahh! Tinsel’s not to EAT!”

“Oh, for Heaven’s sake. Take the Christmas stockings off your feet.”

The old Grinchy-Ma had forgotten what it meant to have fun,

The moment the Christmasy season had begun.


The stockings needed filled, and that should have been easy,

But the thought of another Wal-Mart run made her queasy.

The cards needed stamps, the lights were a-tangle.

She got a headache hearing the bells jingle and jangle.


She’d slaved in the kitchen making cookies and pies,

Even sampling some, which she bitterly knew would be her waste line’s demise.

Glitter and ribbon, googly eyes and hot glue,

Would these silly festive crafts ever be through?


The Elf on the Shelf got left in the storage.

That creepy grin, those sketchy eyes, this year she just didn’t have the time nor the courage.

Each time she swiped the credit card she thought of the bill.

Were the cheap, plastic gifts worth it? But it didn’t matter—she had Christmas list orders to fill.


Christmas carols blared on the radio. The family had watched The Polar Express.

A Christmas Story, Rudolf, Frosty, But admittedly she sympathized with Scrooge the best.

Under the tree were presents she’d spent many nights wrapping.

They’d done it all, so what on Earth was she lacking?


“But I love Christmas!” she puzzled that night under the covers.

“Why can’t I be joyful, like all the other mothers?”

Mom was stressed to the limit, Christmas had plum worn her out.

She’d been so consumed with the going she’d forgot was the season was about.


She stewed and she puzzled till she could take it no more.

She slipped on her boots and walked out the door.

Down the empty streets she breathed in the frigged night air.

Except for the evergreens, every tree stood bare.


No crowds to fight, no bad deals to be dealt.

Her heart suddenly felt full…Could it be the Christmas spirit she felt?

She’d ate way too much pie, it wasn’t a question.

Still sceptical, she thought maybe what she felt was just indigestion.


As she rounded the corner she saw a neighbor shovelling snow.

Not for himself but for an elderly couple who didn’t even know.

Christmas is about giving! How could she not remember?

A heart-felt gesture, a kind smile, serving a little more all though December.


The stars in the sky seemed to twinkle more bright,

And suddenly she was reminded of an ancient Bethlehem night.

A silhouette through a window of a mother rocking her child,

Took her back to a night long ago with Mary so mild.


Ah, now she remembered. The first and best gift wasn’t purchased in a store.

A price could never be placed. It was worth so very much more.

Not the gifts of the Wisemen: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh,

But a baby. A gift so perfect and pure.


The Christmas cheer she had searched for she’d finally found.

The night taught about giving and kindness without breathing a sound.

“All along I was wrong. It wasn’t in the cooking or under the tree.”

“All along the cheer had to be found inside me!


So this Christmas as we find ourselves hustling and bustling around,

Don’t forget that it’s not in the busyness Christmas spirit is found.

It’s not in the packages, or in the crowded isles of Wal-mart.

But the simple things, like family, kindness, and doing our part.


Most of all remember the gift of a Son from above,

Given to the entire world out of pure and unconditional love.

Let’s choose to be happy, let’s choose the real Christmas spirit so bright.

And let’s share the sweet message:

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

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Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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