Merry + Bright

We’re putting the final touches on our packing, cleaning up, emptying the fridge, and getting ready to spend 9 days with my parents in Idaho. Thank you for your suggestions on what to pack for the kids. We’re off to a big adventure tomorrow that includes three separate airplane rides and a 4-hour drive afterward, if all works out. Such is traveling at the holidays, I guess.

Our final activity today was taking Rowen to urgent care after she woke up last night crying that her ears hurt. Sure enough: double ear infection. Awesome. But we are going anyway. Had to stop by Walgreen’s and get a few more medicines to include her in my pharmacy that I’m taking, and we’ll cross our fingers and go. :) I’m looking forward to sharing my kids with my parents, and my brother and sister this year. We’re the only ones bringing kids to this event. I think it’ll be a good time, I really do.

Christmas Thoughts

And now, all the presents are wrapped (most are packed or already in Idaho), the lights are twinkling, and the peace of silence in a Christmas-house has come. More than two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, which is now in southern Israel, in a stable or cave, and laid in a manger full of hay. A few weeks ago, I learned that the ancient Hebrew meaning of the word Bethlehem is “House of Bread”, and it is therefore no accident that it’s the birthplace of the Savior, who called himself (and is) the Bread of Life (see John 6:48-51 ). I feel like in this small thing I can glimpse a little part of the plan of God to save the world.

It seems fitting to me that the Prince of Peace came as a baby. I’m struck that the greatest gift of all time was given to a world who barely noticed (at the time). And was given in a stable. And the announcement? Made to shepherds in their fields, who came running to see, and to worship.

Tonight I look down the long years, and I can run, and kneel together with the shepherds and others gathered there, for a little while, near that manger. Silent night. Holy night. Heavenly peace.

One of my most favorite Christmas hymns is the beautiful, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, whose third verse reads:

How silently, how silently

The wondrous gift is given

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of his heaven

No ear may hear his coming

But in this world of sin

Where meek souls will receive him still

The dear Christ enters in.

So tonight I think about silent gifts. Ones given without any expectation or fanfare. Gifts such as friendship, love, kind words, good will. Gifts, of course, like the great silent Gift from a Heavenly Father who loves us, and a Savior who made a gift of his life.

May you have a wonderful, peaceful, bright Christmas. May it be full of magic, and Spirit, and love.