Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

Are you doing it, too? ...getting caught up in the holiday spirit rushing around buying gifts, getting frustrated stuck in traffic, testing your patience in long lines, cramming your home full of everything green and red and silver and gold and anxiously preparing yourself for the next Christmas party or family get together? I know that in years' past I have been extremely guilty of all of the above.

I love Christmas shopping. (My husband will tell you that this is my love language...gifts!) Usually, I am done well before the fall is upon us. I am the typical "Martha" who has all of our family's Christmas cards addressed and stamped the week before Thanksgiving just waiting for the day after to come and be the first to welcome in the Christmas season. Our home is typically beaming with white lights before December or on the first at the very latest. My home is usually decked out all in the same day. Yes, it's efficient but it has robbed me of thoroughly being able to enjoy this season of advent...preparing for Christ's coming. I have been too busy...too hurried...and too unfocused. Amazing what will change your perspective...

Last year, I was preparing and anticipating one of the sweetest gifts I've ever been given, my daughter. I planned ahead and bought her a little white pre-lit Christmas tree for her nursery to match her brother's baseball and candy cane tree in his room. I just knew that she would have to have a white one...oh, and it would be just darling in her pink and white nursery. I was envisioning all shades of pink little ornaments. It was going to be so girly and she was going to be with me to pick them out this year. I knew we had a long road ahead of us, but she was going to make it. My heart never allowed me to imagine otherwise. My plans were made.

This year is different. I have yet to get the Christmas cards finished although I am pretty close. I haven't even begun the lights outside (but did manage to get my wreath hung). And, the Christmas tree was just put up last week. Call me Scrooge! It's not that I am totally protesting Christmas this year, it's just that I am re-focused on what does matter....waiting for the Lord to come!

Instead, I have been spending more time in His Word and chasing after Him with my heart this advent season. Wyatt and I have enjoyed baking and playing and painting. Scott and I have turned off the T.V. and spent countless hours in real, deep, honest conversation exploring our hearts...the love we have for each other and, most importantly, the love that we have for Him.

Just as Mary was anticipating the Christ Child that she carried, I encourage you to anticipate Him more this Christmas than ever. Feel Him. Hear Him. Yearn for Him. Let Him break the chains you have placed around your heart and surrender it all at His feet...He will be there! He always shows up! His mercy is new every morning and it is yours! What greater gift could there be than HOPE in Him? Wait for Him!

Merry Christmas, sweet friends~ Rebecca


24 comments:

Amanda-The Family News! said...

Oh Rebecca this is a beautiful post. You are so right in all that you have said. We do tend to get so caught up in the rush of things and really should just slow down.
I bet Wyatt enjoys the baking and playing with you! I can't wait to do these things with my little ones. We are attempting the baking tomorrow actually. Avery is such a little helper and well, Lauren she just likes to watch!
You know my thoughts are with you often and they will continue to be throughout this Christmas season and after.
Much love and hugs - Amanda

Jill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sorry the above comment was mine. Anyway, this post was Just beautiful!!! I love her sweet tree with her precious hair bows. I cry that's she's not here with you in person, but I know she'll be by you in spirit.
Thank you for the reminder of what Christmas is all about.
Love to you and your family!-Jill

Jonathan said...

I know the feeling Rebecca. My heart isn't into Christmas this year. We went and cut down our tree at the same place we did last year with Lindsay. That was so hard but I knew we had to go back there. I have been trying to just forget all about Christmas but I know that in a few weeks we will all have to face it. God is going to get us through this hard time. Just think of the Christmas our girls get to have in Heaven!! If only we could have a small look to see what they are doing.
I love the tree! Please know that I think of you all the time.
Love,
Laura

Anonymous said...

What a sweet and precious tree for little Annabelle! What a blessing you are to all of us! And to share with us all your Faith thru these many months. To be more like Martha at this time of year is so hard and sometimes againest our Southern raising. But to see you grow like Mary is just beautiful! :O) We have not baked in our house yet but did make fun ornaments for our tree today. I bet Wyatt is having fun helping you out!
Love you girl!
Karen

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about you alot lately. We have been praying for you as well.

This is a beutiful post. ANd Annabelle's tree just brought tears to my eyes. It's just so her.

Miller Family said...

Oh, I just love the fact that your put bows on Annabelle's tree. Tears came to my eyes when I saw the new picture on your header. How precious!

Thank you for this post. Although I haven't been too crazy with the holiday things, (just day to day things), I need to slow down and give more time to the Lord. The last couple of days I have found myself praying throughout the day. Maybe that is the sign I am slowing a little. You are in my thoughts...I can't even imagine what your heart must be going through. Hugs to you and your sweet family.
PS We got the cute magnet in the mail today. Thank You!

Erica May said...

Rebecca, I love the tree with all the bows!! Your posts always bring me to tears, not always sad tears. You are so right about the real meaning of Christmas! I know my life has forever been changed by Emerson and I have a new, deeper focus and love for God like I have never known! Thanks to God for putting you in my life! I look forward to our "Heart Mommies Lunch" soon!
Much love,
Erica

aimee gillespie said...

Rebecca,

Your posts are always so beautiful. I just love all of the adorable bows on the tree. I'm sure Annabelle's looking down on it and smiling. You're in my thoughts often and my continuing prayers for you and your family this Christmas season.

By the way, I received my magnets this afternoon. Adorable!

Aimee Gillespie

Lindsay Dean said...

Ok, you really have to stop making me cry!!! That is the most beautiful tree I have EVER seen! It has Annabelle written all over it. I truly want to wrap my arms around you and just cry. You are in my heart deeper than ever expected a complete stranger to be. God blessed me with you and your sweet Annabelle and I sit here heart broken that she won't be with you for Christmas. In your post, thank you for reminding all of us what is really important in case we had forgotten. Love to you my friend~
Suzie

The Chavis Family said...

Rebecca,
Thank you for this reminder..."His mercy is new every morning and it is yours!" We too often forget this. Like you said we just get too busy. His mercy is new and we have to claim it each morning. I too have not sent out my Christmas cards yet and the house is not completely decorated, but that's not what it's all about!
I LOVE Annabelle's tree!! ~Kim

~Sara~ said...

Perfectly written.

Heart hugs & Prayers,

Sara & Family

The Ridgway Family said...

Rebecca,

Thank you for reminding us all what is really important about the Christmas season. Our family has been taking this year a little different as well. I am actually enjoying not being so caught up in rushing around and focusing more on my darling girls and my husband. It feels as if we need each other more now than ever. I think it's because we are all missing Eden so much right now. Like you, I did not ever think she would not be with us on her first Christmas. I too had everything ready for her, so her stocking is hung and it will be full in Christmas morning, but with flowers that we will take to her grave. Annabelle's tree is a beautiful tribute to her. I pray Rebecca that the Lord will comfort you and bring you peace during this Holiday. Thank you for your faith and strength, it inspires me.

Hugs, Keisa

Evie's Story said...

Rebecca dear,
Just now getting a moment to check up on Annabelle's blog...oh my. Thank you for the poignancy of your post. Your precious heart blesses and challenges mine so much. Holding you close in my heart this season!

Her tree is beautiful. Perfectly her! You made each of the Christmas bows, didnt you? Bravo!

We are home this week. Let me know when you have time to come over with Wyatt. Christmas tea is on the menu:-)

The Simmons Family said...

This year more than ever... we feel closer to our Christ! I have slowed down and there is no rush this year, there is no shopping crowds... it's just about family and HIS birth.

Of course, the jolly ol' guy will come to our home, but it's just icing on the cake.

I adore the tree you created for sweet Annabelle... I have tears in my eyes.

Heart Hugs and Holiday Wishes from AZ.
Andrea

The Mason Family said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. I love the tree with all of Annabelle's beautiful bows...best wishes.

Shannon Mason
www.carepages.com
cp:CarlieMichelle

Anonymous said...

God is so good. I know for most it is very hard to understand "why" things happen. Most things we will not know until we meet our Savior face to face. Having Faith and trusting the Lord with all your heart allows us to have peace through the most painful times. I am so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I appreciate your transparency. Your testimony is another I can add to so many that let us know Gods sovereignty.
Enjoy the precious gifts in your life and thank you for reminding me to stop...turn off the TV and and embrace.

In Christ Alone,
Kim DeBoer

Nancy said...

I keep up with your blog and pray for you often. My precious son Joe died 27 years ago of Hypo-plastic Left Heart Syndrome, so I have a special place in my heart for all of the HLHS angels.

I love the way you are keeping Annabelle's story alive through the precious baskets.

I am writing to ask for prayer for another HLHS baby that will be born sometime today in Charleston. Her name is Addison.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/addisonmoore

My prayers for you continue and if you will contact me, I would be glad to pray for other families touched by HLHS.
Blessings,
Nancy Carson
carson132@bellsouth.net

Avery said...

Thank you so much for that post.. I think I needed that..
Our thoughts and prayers will be with you during this season. I can only imagine that it is a difficult time. Thank you for your constant strength to our family.
Avery

Anonymous said...

The girls & I were driving to the dentist this afternoon and happened to be behind a car with an "I support Annabelle Baskets" magnet on their car...I know Annabelle is very proud that her mommy is really making a difference and getting the word out! We love you and can't wait to see you at Christmas! Love, Kyle, Allison, Kayla & Kinslee

Anonymous said...

Your post rang true for me. I have always been big into celebrating Christmas... as my parents were when I was a child. I have dozens of totes full of lights and decorations that typically come out the day aftyer Thanksgiving. We buy presents and plan parties and get-togethers with friends and families.

But we lost our little Connor on November 29th... and Christmas is just hard right now. Not because I love Christmas and the joy it brings to the world any less, but becuase I can't find the joy in my heart just yet. I can't bring myself to start decorating the house because I still hurt when I think that this is not how we planned to celebrate Christmas.

But I believe that this is temporary. I know that my hurt is not for Connor... he is in a better place, where he hurts no more. My hurt is for my wife and I, and our family, who are trying hard to rebuild our vision of our future without Connor. And so we pray for healing, for strength, and for Christmas to still be Christmas... but it means something different, too.

Thanks for sharing.

Love, the Dicksons

The Dortenzos said...

Hi! I was led to your blog from McMama's blog! I have a dear friend who's niece has been in John's Hopkins since Aug.! She is currently priority on the heart transplant list but has had a rough road! We knew while Valerie (the mom) was pregnant that Ally had tetralogy of fallot (a significant heart defect which includes a large hole between the two pumping chambers of the heart) and long segment pulmonary atresia (no connection between the heart and her lungs). She was born at Johns Hopkins Hospital weighing 8 lbs. 14 oz., which was a definite plus for surviving her first open heart surgery, which she had when she was 3 days old. There were several close calls and complications throughout the surgery, but she pulled through. A rocky three weeks in PICU followed until she was finally promoted to the 6th floor intermediatec care unit for another 3 weeks before being discharged.
The Lindsays were overjoyed to have her home and she seemed to do well, rapidly putting on weight, smiling, cooing, and insisting on being held. But then her condition deteriorated rapidly. She was readmitted to the PICU on 10/22 due to heart failure which became cardiac arrest on 10/24 after she underwent a diagnostic cardiac catheterization.
So far, only half her heart has started functioning again. Ally remains on the heart transplant list as of today and we are all praying for a holiday miracle! A week ago--she had a downward spiral--Mike and Val learned that intubation for a ventilator might be too much stress for Ally's heart and that, should she go into cardiac arrest again, the ECMO machine wasn't an option and that CPR wasn't really a workable option either. Though painful, all agreed that should Ally go into cardiac arrest again, she wouldn't be resuscitated. She is now holding her own and accepting feeds again, she has been stable and without infection for over a week!!! I saw info on your basket ministry and also wondered if I could send you a link to their carepage--any words of encouragement would be awesome and I wondered if a holiday basket could be sent her way???? please email me at kdortenzo@gmail.com! MANY BLESSINGS!

The Hardy Family said...

Thank you, Rebecca, for reminding of us of what is to be so much more real to us this season than all the busyness we put on ourselves. I needed to hear your words after the busy week I have had. Your post was beautiful and I thank you for sharing your sweet thoughts and words. I love Annabelle's tree and I love your Christmas card! Merry Christmas and I love you!
Lea

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