I find it far too easy to get caught up in the stresses and messes of the season. I see one giant to-do list, and it takes me until mid-December to even create the list—and by then I already feel behind.

Christmas Eve has not always been easy. One year, I sat in our candlelight service waiting on biopsy results, wondering if I would ever see another Christmas. Another year, I nearly passed out from pain while waiting for surgery. And then there was the year my child’s candle burned the hair of the woman in the pew in front of us. Another year, I had to lie down and watch other people do everything because I was trying to keep two babies inside me for at least another week.

Yet something wonderful happens inside me every Christmas Eve, no matter what else is going on in my life. At some point, the remainders of my to-do list become labors of love. My stress evaporates and is replaced by a deep peace that I know at no other time of year. I think of new beginnings. I think of God’s labor of love, as He came down to live and work among us, suffering out of love for us. On Christmas Eve, I think of a young mother laboring as she is surrounded by the scent of animals and straw. Thinking of her, mother to mother, I think of her birthing her baby and watching her son on the cross. And I know that Jesus was real.

Over the next few days, I will celebrate and be thankful for all the blessings in my life. All of my kids are home. My pantry is full. I have time with my husband. I have space to live and time to laugh. My marriage is a source of strength and joy for me. My cup is overflowing and so is my heart. Even in our more difficult years, I have been aware of my overflowing up of blessings. This year, my blessings are bigger. Or maybe it is my heart that is bigger.

This year, I am thankful that God has provided this place for me to share my journey of growth and transformation with you. I have been blessed beyond measure, gaining far more than I give. Thank you for your encouragement as I try to shape my voice in this space and learn about what it is to be in ministry to people whose hearts I can know, even though I will never look them in the eye.

Of all the blessings I have, the one for which I am most thankful is Jesus. The celebration of the infant Christ has always filled me with such peace, joy, and hope.

Tonight, my family will attend church together. We will light candles. We will sing “Silent Night,” and I will think of the many years I listened to my grandfather sing “Stille Nacht” to all his grandchildren. As one, the congregation will look toward the ceiling of the sanctuary, covered in frosted glass. We will see the light of our candles multiplied above. We will be filled with love as we are illuminated.

I pray for all the blessings of this season to be yours.

Image courtesy of Supertrooper and dan at

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