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.