The stockings are hung, the presents are wrapped, the goodies are baked. We’ve rehearsed our Christmas Eve KidStuf show, decorated for the Christmas Eve candlelight service, watched the favorite Christmas classics, and even cleaned the house. We’ve bought the last minute presents and should be sitting back relaxing and enjoying it.
But I’m on day two of migraines and getting enough relief to barely function but nothing more. And Michael is on week three of an episode that hasn’t landed him in the hospital but has made me contemplate the need for it many times. So just like usual, I’m feeling a bit sorry for us, and mostly for him. He should be able to enjoy this season, but we’re here once again and he’s struggling with the emotional battlefield that creates.
But God keeps sending us these small surprises that help keep us going, and remind me that we’re not forgotten.
First, there was this gift.
As I dug through my wrapping paper supplies, which includes old Christmas cards that I use as tags, I saw handwriting that I hadn’t seen in years. 6 1/2 years actually.
Austin’s last Christmas with us we made quite a few sweet memories. One of them was him helping me with Michael’s Christmas gift. Austin was a computer whiz, and I asked him to set up and configure the new laptop that he’d helped me find. He met me at Panera and we drank coffee while he worked on it, to make sure Michael didn’t see. He then bought a warranty to go with it as Michael’s gift, and what I found was his handwritten note saying that he’d bought him a warranty.
It’s the kind of thing I’d normally throw away, and I’m not sure why I kept it. I’m not sure how it sat in that box of supplies for so long without me seeing it either. But as I sat wrapping presents this year, with Michael asleep near me, and me hoping for a miracle for him this year, I got a small one of my own. A reminder of my brother and of the love he had for us.
Later that night, last night, another completely unexpected gift was given.
A small company, UnMarketing, who says to ‘Stop Marketing, Start Engaging’ did just that through granting items from wish lists for a fairly large group of people. They asked you to send them Amazon wish lists, and they’d be selecting some people to pick an item off the list and send it. No questions, no fuss, no contest. They didn’t make you share it to win it, or like them on Facebook, or fill out an application.
Within 10 minutes, two items off of Michael’s Christmas list were ordered and a personal note sent about why the man behind this chose those- he didn’t just throw money (which was cool enough on it’s own) but he took time to connect. They weren’t high ticket items, but they’re items that he’ll love.
And with those two gifts, I’m reminded….
We’re loved, we’re taken care of, we’re not forgotten.
I wish I didn’t have to write a post like this every year- that I didn’t struggle with balancing the great and true Joy of the God we’re celebrating and the kids who have my heart with the heartache of this illness and my brother being missing. I often feel like I’ve said as much as I can say on these topics, and have nothing more to give.
But maybe, you’re like me and facing the same things year after year and needing the reminder that just because you are doesn’t mean you’re forgotten, or unloved.
He loves us more than we can know, which is after all why we have Christmas to celebrate.
Merry Christmas my friends.