We had a bittersweet Christmas this year. Christmas day was as magical as it could be. The girls awoke and were beyond excited, yelling "Happy Birthday Jesus!" And my heart melted. Christmas just snuck up and took me by surprise. Handmade gifts were dreamed about and not made. Presents were ordered and wrapped up at the last minute. Somehow, everything came together and the magic and wonder of Christmas found its way into our hearts.
And my little loves enjoyed every bit of it.
My brother came into town last week, and we all went for a hike with my parents. It was perfect weather, and very peaceful. A welcome trip outdoors in the midst of preparing for Christmas.
Looking at these pictures now several days later, I feel a bit of sadness, at how things were just a mere week and a half ago, and how different they are today. A week later, a new year. Some things reamain unchanged, the mountains, the valley, the rivers, the sunrise and the seasons, always familiar and beautiful. and Faithful.
We spent Christmas day at my Mom and Dad's with my brother and our still-skunky dog. We had more presents, more food, I defeated all at scrabble, and the kids ate so much sugar they bounced off the wall. In more than one way, I am glad Christmas only comes once a year. And now it is over.
Unfortunately a few days after Christmas, our beloved cat, Pascal died. It was the saddest thing that one day he was balled up in blankets in a doll bed, or being dragged across the floor by his tail by an overly affectionate baby and then he was gone. We think he ate a mouse that had eaten rat poison. He was an indoor cat bent on escaping, which he did on Christmas night. We miss him dearly.
Last night another dreadful thing happened. Kieran awoke shaking, and then his eyes rolled back in his head he stopped breathing for a moment... as my heart stopped beating for a moment. For a few moments I thought my baby would die. I prayed my heart out, while Nick dialed 911. The EMTs came and informed us that Kieran had had a Febrile Seizure. I have never expirienced anything like this as a parent and I was so afraid. Thankfully it isn't as huge of a deal as it looked like at 5am. It is moments like these that we realize how vulnerable we really are and how great a gift life really is. And in these moments, when life is lost or spared I feel the true meaning of Christmas, ribbons and paper aside, the gift of life in the most likely of places. A babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. So vulnerable. So alive. So perfect.
I hope you all had a moment to appreciate the greatest gift of all this Holiday season, the gift of life. Because it isn't something we are owed, and tomorrow is never a guarentee.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1
"the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away...” Job 1:21