As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Celebrating Christmas

We celebrated Christmas this year with a mixture of grief and joy, heartache and thankfulness, pain and peace.

It was the most unusual holiday season we have ever had. In fact, life has been a whirlwind since autumn. (I mentioned some of the challenges ~here~.) My aunt's illness was a continual part of our thoughts. There were plenty of joyous moments (a wonderful visit with Ryan and family, a day with the Rabes, fun with the grands, to name a few), but sadness was a companion all the while.

Two days before Christmas, we went to say our good-byes. On the way home, I learned that our friends' son was in serious medical trouble. That night, one of our little adopted stray cats died. On Christmas Eve, my heart was aching.

My beloved aunt passed away on Christmas morning.

And the words that I have written over the past several months? I was compelled to live them out.

Words like these...

I propose that celebrations can be a sort of Ebenezer. As we mark an occasion, a milestone, or a holiday, we can say, "Thus far the Lord has helped us."

We can celebrate a holiday with sincere hearts, hearts that are mindful of the purpose of our festivities, hearts that are filled with gratitude for what He has done. "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 

Marking an occasion as an Ebenezer, a "stone of help," can make all the difference in how we celebrate!

and words like these...

If our focus is marking the occasion, commemorating its significance, if our hearts are full of gratitude knowing that everything comes from His hand...then our celebrations will be those of true rejoicing, and not just meaningless exercises in "having fun"!

and even these...

It is not the season for perfect. For getting it all done. For a Martha Stewart holiday. For checking everything on the to-do list. 

It is the season of enough. 

And in this season, if (when) I am called to do hard things, to live hard things, to glorify Him in painful circumstances, He is enough. 

When I am at the end of my resources, when I am not sure which step to take next, He is enough. 

Whether the path is busy or bumpy or bleak, He is enough, more than enough.

And so we celebrated. No, not in a "happy-happy-happy" kind of way. But in a "He is good" kind of way.

We celebrate Christmas because Jesus came to redeem!


  1. You've been on my heart and in my prayers for weeks now. Your words are true, He is enough, it is enough to honor those we love, by remembering and being thankful.

    I am sorry that you've had such sadness. I know that you have gone to the source of everything and found what you've needed there.

    Love you.

  2. Ahhh. Sorrow and joy go hand in hand. I'm sorry for the loss of your aunt but joyful in the comfort you find in our Lord.

  3. You have been a wonderful example of walking the talk. How you've proved Him o'er and o'er.

    (BTW, that is a beautiful photo of you! Get it back out of that collage for a new profile picture. )

    Keeping you all in prayer. How's your mom doing?

  4. How beautifully you share your thinking with us. Christmas will never be quite the same with the memory of your aunt's passing, but the celebration continues for Christ was born, I'm so sorry for the loss of your aunt as it sounds like she was very special to you. Now I hope the new year will bring rest and renewal for you after this challenging year.

  5. Sorry to hear about your aunt. My holidays are always in the spirit of enough. It is a good good spirit. I thought you and Kati were both kind of quiet. (((Hugs))). xo

  6. You've shared a truly heart warming post Cheryl. Sorry for your loss. Glad you found the comfort and happiness in our Lord.

  7. Our God is truly gracious in the way He helps us prepare for trials in advance. He laid the "Celebrate" message in your heart in such a way that you could draw strength from it in this difficult time, and in turn encourage all of us with your faithful trust in Him.

    The pictures of your family are great! It is easy to see the warmth and love you have for one another.

  8.'s a toss-up between photos. They are both that good! I haven't been paying attention. Praying for you all today knowing that you will be wonderful support for one another.

  9. I'm so sorry for all the sadness and the loss of your precious aunt. May the peace of God continue to surround you and comfort you. Wishing you a blessed and Happy New Year!


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