My photo
We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas ~ 2012

Ponder the incarnation in a house full of 10-11 month olds and you end up with a lot of questions about practically mothering a baby in the first century BC (or AD, dependent on what you think about that portion of history).  I think of my babies and then consider Jesus.  It may seem unholy to speak of the Savior, teething, drooling, pulling up, and saying first words, but that is precisely what makes Him so perfectly lovely. He wrapped out injured flesh around Him, breathed our air and walked our sod ~ to borrow from Chris Rice.  I also read this quote on another blog this morning:
That man should be made in God’s image is a wonder,
but that God should be made in man’s image is a greater wonder.
That the Ancient of Days would be born.
That He who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle?
Thomas Watson

And what a story of parenting~ considering Mary and Joseph knew with each decision as a mom and dad, they were interacting with a child who in a perfectly, developmentally appropriate way knew everything.  Instead of a child who sinfully just wants to be his or her own boss, they nurtured the Word made flesh Who is the Boss ~ Omniscient and Wholly Wise.  I certainly don't have clear ideas on how this all worked out but my first thought is, what pressure!  I wonder if Mary felt the weight of getting it all right all the time.  Or maybe, she of all mothers, understood grace in a far deeper way.  I do know that when the angel of the Lord appears to her, she is called, favored one ~ one who was met with favor (Luke 1:28,30). Later, she expresses awareness of her lowliness or humility when she begins the Magnificat (vs. 48).  Then she turns to the One who has been so gracious to her.  She so concisely and gloriously proclaims what God has done in her then in past and future generations.  Sounds like she knew grace to me ~ and she found herself to be the object, not the Subject. 

That is where I pray my heart rests as the mystery of the manger is revealed.  While my role in the drama of history is different, I resonate with my own humiliation compared to God's great love for me in Jesus.  Because of Christ incarnate, I am too have found favor with God Almighty. That is something wonderful to celebrate.  I think particularly of Ephesians 1, and the inheritance those who are united, according to His will, receives.  God has pursued me with grace and honored me with blessings.  I can sing with Mary, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." 

This Christmas in this full house, we celebrate so many milestones.  This year is quite different than last. 

Isaac surprised us this past week by greeting us, standing in his crib peering over the rail, after nap time.  He is in that I am up but I can't get down! phase.  He is so strong and just wants to go places.  He can army crawl his way anywhere.  His first tooth broke through just three days ago.  He loves to laugh, play, and be turned upside down.  He is such a boy:)  

Elijah is "in love with Mommy's Secret Recipe Macaroni and Cheese".  He thinks 1st Grade math is for babies and is determined to see how many ways he can write the number 4.  We took him and Andrew to see The Hobbit and it was so funny to hear Elijah cackle and see his facial expressions during the movie.  He feels things very deeply and there is something endearing about that quality in him.  If there was one word I could use to describe Elijah, it is passion. 

Andrew is growing up.  I think I have seen the biggest change in him over the last year.  A while back during our visit to MN, we attended an Andrew Peterson concert.  When it was over, Andrew met me in the foyer with tears in his eyes.  "I asked God to forgive me during that song, mommy.  And I think He did."  He breathed a sigh of relief as he melted in my arms.  Andrew has heard the gospel many times.  He has struggled with questions more mature than his 8 year old brain can contemplate.  There has been no lack of sincere struggle in him, but in this time and space, God broke through.  Micah and I both have seen evidences of faith in him and are humbled at the work God is doing.  And we plan to hold Him to it in Andrew (Phil. 1:6). 

Isabella continues to be the smiliest, most content baby.  She wears her middle name, Joy, well.  She is quite capable of feeding herself finger foods and holding her own bottle.  She has been meticulously practicing getting up on all fours and crawling on her knees.  She may not have speed, but precision is her forte.  Her bright two bottom teeth make her look like such a big girl. 

Eliana is also most content, until she gets a bite of something sweet.  The other evening, I was eating a chocolate ice cream bar and she was really struggling with sore gums.  She also has one little tooth breaking through.  I thought it might be nice to feel cold on her little gums.  It was obvious she had never tasted anything so delicious in her whole life.  She grabbed the bar out of my hand and shoved the whole thing in her mouth!  She is a very sturdy sitter and will crawl when she wants to:)  She and Isabella both have the heart of their big brothers.

As far as Micah and I are concerned, we are tired in all the good ways.  I am thankful to share this life with him.  In the past month, God has shown His love for him in a way we can appreciate.  Our church recently called him to serve as a lay elder.  When Micah left vocational ministry in 2006, I prayed that God would continue to use his gifts to serve His church.  This call is an answer to that prayer.  He continues to serve his customers and employees in south Louisville.  The kiddos and I recently attended a Christmas party for all the mall walkers that visit with him in the mornings.  This same group of people gave the babies a shower earlier in the year and it was good to reconnect with them and hear about their many prayers for us. 

Micah's gift to me this year was a trip to Nashville to see Amy Grant.  We had a 6 hour, round trip drive and evening full of good music.  It was a wonderful gift. 

So that just about wraps it up for us this year. 

From our home to yours!
May you find love, joy, and peace in the person and work of Jesus Christ, our most precious gift, this Christmas.  Rob our sin and make us holy, perfect Son of God (Rice). 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Decor

Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things to do.  Thankfully this year, we had the help of my parents, brother, and sister ~gifts~.  My dad is a whiz at putting up lights and such outside.  My mom makes beautiful bows, and my brother and sister were much needed extra hands.

Even the big boys got into decorating this year.  They were in charge of the nutcrackers, which have now ended up all over the house.  They did go shopping with me to Michael's and Elijah made sure he expressed his concern over the amount of glitter all over the floors!

My absolute favorite place to glance this year this year is the fireplace.  There, the stockings of the five little souls ~gifts~ that inhabit this house hang peacefully.  I never imagined that God would add to our family in the ways He has over the past 9 years.

There is also a stocking up on the bookshelf (there because it doesn't match the others--- yes, I like aesthetics:)) next to mine.  It represents the kind and loving soul ~another gift~ that shares life with me.  The fragility of the gift of life has been felt in our family in our journey together ~a different kind of gift~ that humbles and makes my heart thankful.  It also anchors them to the Giver and Creator of each one.  Not far from these stockings is my painting reminding me of the frozen ones, set free to go on before us ~gifts waiting~.  It is a good thing God isn't like Santa--- presents as precious as these would be absent.  I know these aren't deserved or earned but extravagant evidences of grace and mercy.     

There is something much greater than presents, rather Someone.  In the foyer, the Nativity rests as a reminder of God with us. 

Yesterday's reading from Scotty Smith's book, Everyday Prayers was so fitting, "Jesus, I praise you for being Immanuel-- God with me and God for me.  Your presence and your presents are all that I need, much more than I realize, and way beyond all I could have ever hoped for or imagined."  There is a way for me to know the Giver of every good gift even when I fail to appropriate rightly His value above them all.  His presence is my hope and where fullness of joy resides. 


I wrote this blog this yesterday morning, before the news of the tragedy in Connecticut.  Our family joins the many others praying for the families of those who lost their lives today.  We grieve with them and pray, Jesus, come quickly.