What a time! LOTS.OF.TRAVELING.this past month... Fun. Joyful. Family-filled. Road trips, plane trips, rain, wind, ice and snow. LOTS of snow! Yes, we were indeed in the great Midwest when the winter blizzard blew through and, for heaven's sake, I lived there most of my life and I never remember that much snow... ever!
Between rainy Atlanta and snowy Omaha, we celebrated the season with much gusto- gabbing, grub and gift-giving! The kids played with new friends and their much-loved cousins, while the adults enjoyed a great time of yummy food and awesome conversation. Because this is Daddy's busy time of year he was in and out working quite a bit, but he definitely had the chance to enjoy the true winter weather like the rest of us.
Christmas Eve day was relaxed and we all left the house very bundled in our Christmas best for service. At my parents church the kids don't generally go to nursery so a little apprehensive, we took them in with us. Faith Clare was loaded down with snacks and Deacon sat occupied with colors and paper. It was actually (fairly) great! It was amazing to watch him tune in here and there and even shout out during service, "FOUR", when the pastor asked a rhetorical question about how many legs a cow has. Awesome!
As I sat there with most of my family, my husband at my side and my two kiddos crawling all over me like a playscape, I felt so blessed. God has provided for us in innumerable ways and I could only think of what a beautiful gift it was for Him to send his Son in the form of a child to this earth... to save each of us. With that thought in mind, I opened up the Christmas Eve Program to see that my parents had given a poinsettia plant in honor of my sisters and I and our families. Smile. Then I turned the page to see where poinsettias were given "In memory of...". As I glanced down the page, my son's name immediately caught my attention. Maddox Stanfield. This time, tears. And strangely, so unexpected.
Our son has been such a beautiful gift to our family and while there are times when it still hurts, it is well. I know God has a perfect plan and although we don't always understand, I can't imagine a more beautiful time to picture my beloved boy in Heaven with our sweet Jesus. I guess the flood of emotion just made me hold my breath. And the picture of them together is perfect in my mind. It surely must have been a celebration beyond comprehension. Celebrating Christ and my 3 lb boy, who is only whole and saved because of the birth of that same Jesus. Phenomenal!
Sitting there crying did bring me back to last Christmas when I wept, staring at a 6-week-old Faith Clare in her infant carrier. It also brought me back to the Christmas before last when I was carrying Maddox inside, holding him safe and warm and also knowing full-well that we didn't have much time left. Such compounding emotions. Such stark reality. Such sacrifice. The sacrifice that God asked of me in giving Him my son. But how could I even consider withholding my son from Him when He so willingly gave His Son for me? For each of us?
Through the several-day celebration the kids had an absolute blast and we enjoyed the family time to the max (minus the sickness bug that was spreading around like wild-fire). Being part of a large extended family has always meant so much to me, so to be there to celebrate with everyone for the first time in four years was fantastic! The 21+ hour, 2-day car drive home... not so much. However, it was more than worth it to spend time with those we dearly love!
So, needless to say... so much to be thankful for and such a beautiful Christmas!
I hope your Christmas was beautiful too. Spending time with those you love, possibly missing those who aren't with you today, but most of all cherishing the best gift we could ever be given. Wishing you and yours a beautiful rest of the holiday season and a fantastic 2010!
With immense gratitude and love.
The Stanfield Family
"For a child is born to us, a son is give to us... He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."- Isaiah 9:6