Friday, December 25, 2015

When Christmas Eve gives you a passing moment of clarity

Written Christmas Eve, 2015

We had a very special Christmas program tonight. We've been reading along with The Friend's nativity advent which has really brought the Christmas spirit into our home. We read the short parts each day about every different part of the nativity for the last week in the Friend. Cheyenne always asked me to pull out my scriptures and read the verses listed in the "learn more" section. I love seeing her budding love of the scriptures grow.

 Today was the last day, and we read the nativity story. To end our evening, I thought it would be nice to sing some Christmas hymns together. I suggested we sing Silent Night, but the kids told me, "No, FIRST Jingle Bells." It made me laugh a little. We've been singing the two in tandem for Family Home Evening the whole month of December, and the kids would have it no other way. I cried as we sang a silly song about Jingle Bells, which has nothing to do with our Savior, and just realized how blessed we were to have these little people in our lives. We were creating memories with them, and they are so little and so full of life. It was a little melancholy because I realized that someday they would grow up, and we wouldn't have our funny little 3-year-old Delaney to keep us in stitches, or sweet little Ephraim who can barely talk yet kept pointing out "Jesus! It's Jesus, Mom!" in the nativity picture. It won't be long before Cheyenne's five-year-old excitement and wonderment about the simple parts of life become an automatic understanding and knowledge of facts, a necessary and inevitable part of growing in this world.

Family life is so incredibly fulfilling. Yet even a year ago I could see so little of the fruits of being parents. Managing little people is hard, hard work, especially when you've been blessed with some strong personalities. There have been so many days I have felt like I wasn't making a difference, or I was failing in some major ways. Ben and I were looking through some old pictures tonight, and it's amazing how those difficult days start to fade, and all you can see are the pictures of these cute little kids. I spotted a scratch on baby Delaney in one of the pictures, and I reminded Ben, "Remember when Cheyenne used to scratch Delaney all the time?" As a two-year-old, Cheyenne had a lot of problems with aggression. It took him awhile to remember before he nodded and said, "Yeah, now that you say something that sounds familiar." At a recent visit, my sister-in-law was just pointing out how kind and what a sweet girl Cheyenne was turning out to be. She said that at each visit, she could see vast improvements in Cheyenne, and knew her future was bright.

While certainly seeing your children grow and hoping that you are somehow aiding in that process is fulfilling, I think the deep satisfaction I receive from family life is so much more than that. It's being connected to people eternally, living day-in and day-out with them, and being able to experience, together, the simple joys in life. But it's more than shared memories, or the comfort of having other people to be with on the journey of life, but a profound reverence for families and their irreplaceable connectedness. That's what I was thinking about this Christmas Eve. Not so much creating the "perfect" Christmas magic for my kids (although that takes up a good amount of my thinking as much as anybody), but simply being grateful that I get to be a part of these little people's lives, and they mine, for eternity.

Merry Christmas to you all.


  1. I like how Ben had all of these marathon shirts - as if he competed or something...

    1. Ben always laughs and says "don't I look like I've run a few marathons?" whenever people ask him about it (he has several of them!) He has one for every year he's helped out with that marathon. They must be comfortable because it is his shirt of choice!