I didn't send cards, didn't write a pre-Christmas blog I was barely keeping my head above the proverbial water, So much has happened this year and when I sat down to write I was blocked. Everyone wants their Christmas letter to be full of good news or to be funny. This has been a difficult year and a wonderful year at the same time. My sister Barbara died on Father's Day and it rocked the world for my sister Patti and myself. Patti spent a long time with her the month before she died and Barbara told me what a blessing it was to have her there. Barbara said she experienced such a closeness with her and that she felt that God had really given her a gift. On March 24 my precious daughter gave birth to twins, Aster and Patton. Aster Leigh is named after my daughter's friend Leigh Billeaud and Patton Lee is named after my mom, his great grandma, Ina Lee. My daughter wanted Barbara to see the twins so we packed up her three kids and Rebekah, Stan and I went to Perrysburg Ohio to visit. Barbara badly wanted to see the twins so because of my daughter we were able to fulfill that wish. My son and his wife Syndi separated in the summer. When a marriage ends there are no winners but I do know without a doubt that they both adore their children and will do what it takes to keep them happy. Allison and Aries have grandparents who also adore them and I am grateful to God that Kurt and Stephanie love those two angels as much as I do and are such a positive influence. I have prayed and will continue to pray for blessings to surround both Josh and Sydni. Joshua is moving to St. Thomas Island in a few days and my heart grieves BUT I know and I have been assured that God is directing his life. Thank you Jesus.
Life is a continuous river that ebbs and flows with joy and sorrow. I have learned to praise the Lord through the sorrow because I know that as a daughter of the King he is in control. This is the season that we celebrate the birth of the Son of God. People argue that this is not when He was born but they just don't understand. For those that believe it is enough that he was born. It's not the when it's the WHY. Christians honor his birth during Christmas and we give gifts to each other to celebrate. Some of us go a little overboard..uh-hum....and we decorate our houses in greenery and trees which is to some pagan in design. The evergreen was an ancient symbol of life during the dark of winter: a symbol of rebirth. What is the birth of Jesus but a rebirth of hope. I am keeping my trees, keeping Christmas as the celebrations of Jesus birth and ignoring those who want to throw water on my joy.
While I am writing let me briefly discuss Santa Clause. St. Nicholas was a Christian Bishop who was noted for helping the needy. After he died his legend of gift giving grew and morphed into a fat man in a red suit who gives gifts to all the children in the world. We take our children to see Santa and it is magical. One of my favorite figurines is one of Santa kneeling at the foot of the manger. One day I will buy it as it will offer and opportunity to explain the difference to my grandchildren. In my home with my grandchildren we will let them know the "reason for the season". I see nothing wrong with Santa, that is my personal feeling. If you don't do the Santa thing then good for you.
This year I am grateful for so many things. I am grateful for my family and my extended family. I am grateful for friends who are as good as family. I am grateful for my job and the opportunity to minister to the sick and I vow to do better this year. I am grateful for my sister Patti I am grateful for the time I spent with her when she was ill because I learned strength thru her. I am grateful that I quit smoking in May and (this is going to be tough) I am grateful that I have gained 30 pounds as soon as I quit. I am especially grateful for the five little angels Allison, Winston, Aries, Patton and baby girl Aster. My heart is renewed each time I see them.
It is often said that Christmas is for children but in truth it is not. Christmas is for all of us. Jesus came for all and I am grateful that this time of year renews my focus and my faith when I think of the baby born in a manger who came to save the world. Merry Christmas