For Those Who Won’t Be Home For The Holidays

On the other side of the world, there is a soldier defending freedom. He has been gone for many days. Each one a sacrifice. Each one pressing a little harder against the already sore place in his heart. He longs for home. Home full of love and safety and security. And while each day is hard, the hardest? Are the holidays. He won’t be home this Christmas – and yet there is nothing that he wants more.

Just a few states away, there is a wife who is with her new husband. She has made her house beautiful for the holidays. She has added lights and charm and filled their space with love. But as she celebrates with her new family, she cannot help but think about her own family. The family that she left behind when she changed her last name. And while there is so much joy, there is also a place in her heart that misses what was familiar… that wishes she were home.

In a hospital room, a tired dad has returned from a short break to the cafeteria. He sits beside his baby’s crib watching her breathe in and out, listening to the monitors beep, and praying for a miracle. This is not how he planned on spending his first Christmas as a dad. And while his heart is full and his hope still high, he knows that they will spend Christmas in the same place. So he continues to pray that soon he will be able to take his baby home.

On a bus with other children who are gleefully awaiting Christmas break, a small child stares out the window. What he wants so desperately won’t be under any tree. He filled out a list, and some nice people are going to make sure that he has clothes that fit and maybe even some new shoes, but what he really wants… is a family. What he is wishing for… is a home.

Home is a word that means many things to many people. This holiday season, I want to take a minute to remember those who won’t be home for the holidays. To those who are away, and to those who are left behind, I want to simply say, “May your hearts be comforted with peace, may you continue with hopeful expectation of joyful days to come, and may each of you make it safely home.”

Merry Christmas.

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To My Mama Friends This Christmas

You know all of those things that you do every day? All of the ones that keep you going from the time that you wake up until the time that you go to bed? All of the moments where little kids or babies or not quite adults need your hands and your attention and your help???

Well, here’s what we are going to do.

You’re going to keep doing all of those things, but we are going to add in…. wait for it… Christmas. Yes! Christmas! A season of joy and cheer and hope found in Who has already come and what is yet to come!

Also, a season in which we will struggle to find the balance between keeping it all about Jesus and maybe throwing in a tricky magical elf. A season in which we will need to keep up with the housework and homework, but also add an appropriate amount of light and decoration and festivity. A season in which we are to revel in the joy of giving… all while trying to find gifts for those hard to pleasers and that one sold out toy on Amazon.

Friend, we do our best every day of the year – every single day. But the holidays can be downright overwhelming. Because while our time was completely accounted for without all of the tinsel, the holidays request that we also somehow manage to come up with time to purchase the gifts, and attend the plays, and decorate the house, and wrap the presents, and buy the sweaters and jammies and stocking stuffers, and plan the menu, and prepare the food, and make the days magical and keep our hearts holy. Because after all… Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.

But friend? This isn’t a post about keeping it simple. Or about what it means to have a sacred holiday. Even though, both are good things. It isn’t a post about how we do it at our house or how you should do it at yours. I’m not complaining or trying to say that the holidays are just more work (But we all agree they are more work.)

No, friend, this is just a simple reminder a few days before Christmas to say that I know you’re trying your best. I know you’re doing everything you can to make this a special time for you and your family and friends. I know that you have gone out of your way to do those little things that will turn regular moments into treasured memories.

But you know what it really is? … worth it.

Every last bit.

Because if being a momma has taught us anything, it is that at the end of the day when we finally rest our heads on our pillows, or against the back of the rocking chair, or down on pile of waiting to be folded clothes… we can rest knowing that all of our efforts have meant something. Every ounce of ourselves that we gave. Every moment that we chose love. Every time that we were there. We have continued to tell the story that will always end with the words, “She did the best she could.”

Because that’s what we do. That’s what mamas do 365 days a year. We just find a way to make it happen. And this year? You are doing a great job, and your best is good enough.

So, here’s to you, friend. Here’s to the mamas who love for the sake of loving. Who give for the sake of giving. And who do it all out of the goodness of their hearts expecting no praise or applause in return. Today, I’m cheering for you. Because Christmas? Well, Christmas wouldn’t be what it is without the mamas who make it happen.

Merry Christmas, friend.

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Mommy’s First Christmas

There are branches wrapped in festive lights, packages arriving in the mail and family is gathering from near and far. But this Christmas is different. This year is even more special, because you got your Christmas gift early.

Being a Mommy is wonderful. Isn’t it? Your sweet baby has brought more joy in the short time they have been here than you ever knew possible. Your heart has experienced love like never before.

But I know that there have also been moments that you didn’t plan on being so difficult.

You have worried – about you, about the baby, about whether or not you’re doing everything right. Being Mommy isn’t always what we imagined it would be, and some days, it is absolutely overwhelming… but you have done a beautiful job.

You and your sweet one have already experienced so many firsts together. A first smile, perhaps a first word, but now it is time for baby’s first Christmas… And that can only mean one thing… it is your first Christmas too.

Sure, there have been Christmases before this one, but this is your first Christmas together. This is your first Christmas as Mommy.

And I know that your heart wants to make it beautiful, special, something to look back on and celebrate. But if I may, if I can encourage you for just a moment…

Your baby has everything they need. Because they have you, and you are enough. Your presence provides peace. Your arms bring comfort. And your love brings joy.

There will be Christmases coming that seem lost in presents, parties and the presentation of it all. There will be Christmases where the toys and to-do lists all seem to overshadow the simple joy of being together in the moment.

But this year while the world rushes around you, may you hold your sweet baby in your arms and realize that on this first Christmas, your baby will find no greater joy than in you. Because you are Mommy and you make everything beautiful just by being you.

Merry First Christmas, Mommy – baby’s greatest gift.

 

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