Merry Christmas, dear friends and readers!
To everyone, I hope that you are blessed by the knowledge that God was compelled by His love for us and for His own glory to come to earth as a babe and shortly thereafter, pay the ransom for our sins. Those of us who have been Christians a long time know the meaning of Christmas, but I pray that it was made new to you in some way this year.
To my sweet IF sisters, I pray that God revealed some treasure to you beyond the painful manger scenes and songs that ministered to you in a certain way. I haven't found a special symbol but one song has been special on my heart this season and I received such a special gift in being able to spend Christmas in our own home. Being in our own home, establishing our own traditions and activities and sharing them made me feel like we were a "real" family instead of a tag along to someone else's Christmas. Don't get me wrong--I love both of our families and love spending holidays with them, but it was a special ministry to my spirit to have that tangible reality of our own family to establish with my DH this year.
Anyway, the song that was special to me this season was a song I'd never heard before this year. I'm one of those who loves the generic old Amy Grant Christmas CDs but this year I finally grew tired of them and went on a hunt and found the Avalon CD. On it is a song called "Born on this Day." You can listen to it here. That link takes you to a youtube of a Christmas lights display--I haven't really watched it but it's the only decent recording of the song I can find online so if you don't want to watch, just play it in the background to listen ;) anyway...I'd never heard it before this year. I live under a rock in the Contemporary Christian Music world, I know. Man, am I long winded tonight. Back to the topic at hand...
So...my usual favorite Christmas song is "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant, but this year the song from a pregnant mom's perspective was too much for me so I played it once or twice and then put it away. "Born on this Day" has the title words in the song, but that's about all in the song that is actually about Jesus as a baby. Instead the song glorifies Christ in the totality of His being--for everything He is and who He was and why He came here. I found it much easier to celebrate the totality of Christ and His existence, and not just His birth. I played the song over and over again, and sang my heart out. During church services when "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger" became too much for me, I meditated on this song quietly instead.
This has been an interesting week.
My parents arrived on Saturday and we went to the movies and out to dinner and then due to some circumstances, we couldn't get to one of the activities I had planned. So instead, we walked around the Christmas lights display of a local housing community. While there, we witnessed a woman beating her child (this was clearly *not* disciplining-it was closed fisted hitting/punching on the face while she pinned him to the ground). We intervened and called the police and the long and short of it is that from what we observed, they did pretty much nothing, but maybe it got this child on their radar. If you think of it, pray for this little boy. DH and I wrestled a lot with thoughts about why this woman was even allowed to have a child (she was lamenting how she'd had to "put up with him" for 10 years) but mostly we tried to focus on being thankful that we and my family were there to intervene for this little boy. Hopefully he knew, at least that night, that there are people who care for him. Please intercede when you think of him.
The next day we went to a Danish Museum. We were in the door not two seconds when we were pounced on by an overzealous curator who proceeded to tell us about the family who built the house and its history. She said that a man built the house for his wife. The woman said that the wife "was a spinster-she never had any kids. So instead, her husband built her a nice house." I hated that word spinster. I realize she didn't use it properly but I still hated hearing it.
In the next room there was a Christmas Tree adorned with Danish ornaments. I was admiring it when the same curator interrupted my thoughts by taking me around to one side and pointing out the stork and the little baby in its mouth.
Then we went to the St. John's Bible Exhibit at the Art Museum. I was really appreciating the beauty of a particular page when my eye fell to the text. It was the story of Rachel and Leah.
Last night we went to church and the sermon was about Jesus as a Baby. It wasn't your typical Nativity story--it emphasized how even in His birth and infancy, Christ was perfect. He had to communicate wet clothes, hunger, displeasure, etc, perfectly and without sinning. He had to respond to discipline perfectly, and to his parents' mistakes perfectly. The pastor brought his grand baby up on stage and all around me there were families of children. I made it about 5 minutes in to the sermon and excused myself. It was wonderful to be at church but I'm trying to take a lot of the advice I've heard and recognize my own limits.
I've been pondering on all these things. Am I just hypersensitive so I noticed an abnormally high amount of references to pregnancies, children, etc, or did I encounter these things specifically so that I might be challenged? I would wish that I could take them as "signs" (especially the stork! ;) ) but I'm not sure I believe God works that way. So, I have a lot to think about. I haven't come to any conclusions and I've considered a host of possibilities so I'm just filing them in my "maybe this will make more sense later" file.
I've been reading The Infertility Companion: Hope and Help for Couples Facing Infertility (Christian Medical Association). While I won't officially recommend it yet because I haven't finished it, I have found it to be immensely helpful and even my DH is enjoying reading it. I'll post a full review soon. It's been a good catalyst for working through some of these thoughts and emotions.
We celebrated Christmas with my family yesterday because they got on the road today. My DH gave me the sweetest, most generous gifts for Christmas and my Birthday. He upgraded my camera, gave me 2 new lenses and bought me a fancy schmancy speedlight (flash). He said that he really wanted me to have something to distract me as we started this new year that is bound to be filled with appointments, procedures, exams and waiting. He also said that with the things we'll likely have to do in the coming year in the way of medical expenses, it will be a while til we can splurge again so he wanted to do something special. He squirreled away money for months and did a ton of research. I'm so overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness. As I've shared before, my love language is time and there is evidence of so much time invested in his choice of gifts and the specific models and vendors he chose.
My heart is full. Elkanah once said to Hannah, "Why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?" How precious is my DH to me, more than all the children in the world! Thank you, Sweet Jesus for this reminder of what a gift I've already been given in walking this life with him as my beloved.
My family has thankfully, safely arrived home back in California now. We'll celebrate with Todd's parents and brother and his family tomorrow night after work which we're looking forward to. We'll hopefully get to see grandpa and grandma and his sister in the New Year (hopefully not too far in to it!).
If you think of it, remember my friend Jessica in your thoughts and prayers. She's carrying precious twins, Kate and Jane, but they are monoamniotic, which leads to a high risk of cord accidents, and other birth complications. She has to go in for daily monitoring and then after the new year, will be checked in until their birth. Please keep her, her twins, as well as her husband and other two children in your prayers. Pray that the girls would be kept safely in utero until the proper time for a full term delivery. I know my IF prayer sisters have hearts for unborn babies like no one else so please make room for these little girls and their momma!
Please also remember us on Thursday when we have our first visit to the new doctor. This will be just a test and questionnaire administered to us by his nurse and we won't actually see him til January 17 but hopefully we'll at least get a good feel for the office and it feels good to be starting something new.
I pray that you all have had a blessed Merry Christmas. And my IF sisters, know that you and your DHs are especially on my heart today. I've been thinking about all of us. I have nothing profound to offer but know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
ETA: I just re-read this again. I was all over the place tonight! Guess I've wanted to write for several days and all my thoughts came jumbled out . Thanks for wading through it all! :)