At home, we were blessed by a dear woman at our church with this beautiful stocking made just for our boy. Its made from some receiving blankets we were given in a gift basket at the hospital when Jairus was born as well as some premie sized sleepers that Jairus would have gotten from his big brother Hazen. This is such a treasure to us and we are SO thankful to you, AmyLee!
When we got the finished stocking and I showed it to the kids, Emma told me "Jairus doesn't need a stocking at our house, because died already and he lives up in Heaven...but maybe the stocking can float up to Heaven!!" I told her it was for us to remember him and fill with things that help us remember how much we love Jairus. Emma agreed that that was ok. :) I love how God speaks to me through that precious child!
We started an ornament collection for Jairus this year. It felt good to be able to look and buy something for him, though it was really hard knowing, as Emma reminded me, its not really for him, but for us. I was thinking a lot at the time about the story of Abraham from the book of Genesis in the Bible.
You can find the story of Abraham in Genesis chapters 12 - 25. Abraham is really old, but he and his wife never had any children. God comes to Abraham and promises him many amazing things, including that his descendants would outnumber the starts in the sky (Genesis 15:5) and one day the whole world would be blessed and saved through his family (Genesis 12:3) enter many years later...Jesus! The story of Abraham is amazing to me because God is so clearly pouring out His love on someone who is so clearly unworthy! But that's not the point of this post.
It struck me how Abraham (God's) children outnumber even the stars! To think if each of us were a star God called out by name. In thinking about that, I decided this year Jairus, being in the presence and glory of God, being one of God's "children of Abraham" would receive Christmas star ornaments to start his collection. Here's what we found...
I also had this ornament made for our family and both sets of grandparents to remember our baby in Heaven...the heart he is holding says "You may miss me but I'm spending Christmas with Jesus this year" Its been such a healing thought for me this Christmas season. Yes, I miss my son. Yes, I ache for him to fill the hole in our family, to see him grow and to know him now. But it is better for Jairus to be where he is. With Jesus.
We just put the kids to bed and I just realized that while we got some video of today, I took zero pictures with my camera of the kids! Luckily, Oma and Opa (my parents) snapped quite a few so I'll get some up a different time. Mommy fail.
Our first Christmas without Jairus had its ups and downs. Through God's grace we had many laughs as well as tears and enjoyed our older children immensely as we celebrated the birth of our Savior.
Christmas Eve was the tougher day of the two for whatever reason. I woke up with a list of things I hoped to accomplish and the more I pushed to "do it right" and "be happy" the crabbier and sadder I got. Luckily my wonderful husband reminded me its ok to be sad, even at Christmas, and that I don't have to try to fake happiness for Emma and Hazen. Seems simple, but its hard to remember sometimes in the scramble to create memories for them while they are young. I spent some time alone at the cemetery which I find very peaceful. Its good to be by myself sometimes so I can stop running around doing 5 things at once and just be. Then Mark and I snuggled in for a movie and we spent the evening at church. Lots of tears, lots of memories of last year but also so much hope for the Truth in the manger.
Christmas Day has been a good day, we woke early and, once the coffee was brewing, tore through all the presents before breakfast (I don't think we could have stopped the kids if we'd tried!). Next we headed back to church and were greatly encouraged by the Good News of keeping the Main thing of Christmas, the Main thing. Then the cemetery to add jingle bells to Jairus's decorations. We spent the rest of the day just relaxing with my parents, playing with the kids, eating and napping. Its been a quiet Christmas compared to those in the past, but a good Christmas.
I find I don't have the frenzied excited feeling I have in past Christmases, in its place is something deeper, quieter, a hopeful joy for the long awaited Savior and His eventual return. At the end of the day, no matter the day, He's all that matters. He came for us, to save us, to bring us home. He brought my son already, someday I'll get to go too. And then I too will get to live in the perfection of Life with Jesus. All because of what happened on Christmas.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that who ever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life!
In trying to include Jairus in our holidays this year, we're starting some new traditions.
On thanksgiving we made a "Thankful Tree" in which we (the four of us and my parents) each wrote, shared and hung up a few things we are thankful for this year. We then brought our Thankful tree to the cemetery and left it at Jairus's graveside.
The kids decorated a mini-Christms tree for Jairus and brought it to his grave this weekend.
We're baking like always, though mostly just us, rather than surrounded by friends and noise. Just trying to keep it more simple and quiet this year. The kids are of course loving it all!
This weekend we went out and picked a Christmas tree. And though I cried a little in the store and had a sick feeling in my stomach the whole time we picked through the selection, its a beautiful tree and we had a good time decorating it as a family and reading the Grinch Stole Christmas with Mark's parents!
We even had our first indoor fire in the fireplace. It was very nostalgic. Until we realized the basement had filled with smoke.
We're starting an ornament collection for Jairus, just as we have done with Emma and Hazen since they were born. He will have a stocking hung in his honor over the fireplace mantle. But I'm not ready to get our stockings out yet. I just can't seem to hang them up. One of these days I will. And I'll cry for my baby's first Christmas and remember gladly that he's celebrating Christmas with Jesus this year.
3 days after Christmas we will have to face the day we dread the most. December 28th will mark 1 year since Jairus died and was born. I don't know what to do for that day. Can't begin to figure out how to celebrate the little life of my beloved son. I want him to be celebrated, to thank God for bringing Jairus into Heaven where he is filled with joy and peace and love beyond measure. I want to thank God for His mercy and comfort to my family this past year, for showing us bits of His plans for us and His work through Jairus's life and death. But I'm not quite ready to go there yet. So I'll linger here, preparing for Christmas.
December has so far been a mixture of joy and pain, of smiles and tears, of fear and hope.
We will celebrate the coming of our King and the promise of the manger.
May God be glorified through this December too.
I keep catching myself filling my time, mind and life with distractions. Problem is, once the excitement of something new wears off, I need a new distraction. Lately my distractions have come specifically in the forms of online shopping, baking, cleaning, shopping in stores, preparing for upcoming Holidays, wine, foodie movies and spending time with people. NONE of those things are bad in and of themselves. For "all things are permissible" but when I am running to those things to put a band-aid on my heart, that IS a problem.
Its much easier to bake bread than be still and seek the Lord for HIS healing. I get a rush from finding a great deal on Etsy and again when the package comes in the mail, but now I'm done with Christmas shopping and the urge to buy is a dangerous one for our budget, trouble with 'things' is you will always want more, more, more!
I am busy filling my time with busyness because I feel a stress ball building up within me. And its too hard to stop my day and deal with it by taking it to the Lord. That's too painful. Too inconvenient. So I take up my burdens myself and labor under them by ignoring them.
Please pray that I would be able to drop that baggage at Jesus' feet.
Jairus turned 11 months on Monday. In 24 days it will be Christmas. In 27 days we will mark 1 year since we labored and delivered our still baby. I'm so tempted to rush through this month and put on a smile and ignore the memories that have been flooding my mind in a fresh, painful way.
And yet, there is God's whisper within me, urging me so gently and lovingly toward Himself, toward the manger, toward the Hope and Joy of what Christmas is holding for all of us, even me. So though I am tempted to be busy constantly, I hope to stop and worship this Christmas season. To dwell in the presence of my Good God. To hope for His peace, comfort, perfect healing and joy.