Monday, December 19, 2011

My Christmas Story

So, to say this has been a tough year is probably a bit of an understatement; to say that it has been hard to get in the Christmas spirit is even more so. But I want to share a story because it has reminded me the true meaning of Christmas and helped me feel Christ love this year.

For those of you who knew my Mom, I truly hope you got to be around her at the holidays. She LOVED Christmas and thoroughly spoiled everyone. Every year we would yell at her and tell her she didn't need to do so much; but I can't tell you how much I looked forward to opening my new Christmas ornament from her every year. It usually had something to do with where we were at in our lives that year, she took special care in picking out every ornament so that it had special meaning and sentimental value. I look at my Christmas tree now and I can tell a story about almost every single ornament. Without me knowing my Mom snuck in some of her ornaments with mine so this year my story tells a whole different story. In fact, some may say my tree looks pretty empty since it only has ornaments, lights and a star this year. But every time I look at it I feel like I have a piece of my Mom with me.

Anyway, that was just to give you a little background - that is not my story. My story started at my niece and nephews birthday party. I was talking to my sister-in-law Brittany and we were discussing how sad it was that everyone feels so disconnected since my Mom passed and that it feels like not much effort has been put in (by anyone) to spend time together. I don't think we had even discussed the idea of getting together for the holidays. Brittany and I decided that Mom would probably turn over in her grave if we didn't do something for Christmas so we were going to plan something. And that was the end of the discussion. Nothing was planned.

About a week later I started thinking about it again as I was going through some old papers. I thought it would be a lot of fun to have a party and invite "Santa" for the little kids; I really wanted him to give each of the grandkids their ornaments that year. Right then I found a coupon for $15 off a visit from Santa at your family Christmas party! Instantly the thought hit me - I don't want a Santa that we don't know this year. Everyone's emotions are so raw and I didn't want an outsider there who didn't understand the situation.

That is when things got a little crazy! Ab0out an hour after I put all the papers away and was folding laundry, my phone rang. It was my Aunt Rhonda. Now she is not my biological aunt but I have known here my whole life, she is one of my Mom's best friends, and was by her side the day she passed-away. She told me that she had been thinking about us kids and wondered if we were planning on doing anything for Christmas. I let her know we had thought about it, but nothing was planned. I couldn't believe it when she told me that her husband, my Uncle Kent, plays Santa at Christmas time and they really wanted to be able to do this for us. She then asked me if each parent would buy ornaments for their kids so that "Santa" could give them their ornaments - with love from up above.

My first thought was: Okay, Mom, I'm listening - I got it! But just as quickly I realized that God's hand was in this and that He was aware of us and our hardships this year. At a time when I feel so lonely, and miss my Mom more than I ever thought possible, He found a way to show me that we are all loved. My testimony grew this month and I am so excited for our family party, I hope all of my siblings will be able to feel the same love that I felt.