Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

The angel said to the shepherds
"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord..." and suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
Luke 2:11-14

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I knew this was coming soon, and now the day is here. Tonight in just a little while we will be opening Christmas presents as a family. We were going to wait until tomorrow morning, but the weather is getting bad, so we need to leave to travel to my mom's as soon as we get a window of clear weather tomorrow. Last year we started the tradition of opening our own presents with just our family at home before going to our parents' houses. This way, we get to enjoy our Christmas together, and the boys get a chance to play with their gifts from us a little bit before leaving town.

I am excited to see the boys' faces light up when they walk into the living room and see their new train table and Thomas things and their little keyboards, and then open up the presents we have wrapped for them. But, I know in my heart I will be missing my little Eliana so much, I hope it won't show on my face when I smile back at those two precious boys. I wish I could see her face light up just like her brothers', as she experiences all of it for the very first time, all wide-eyed with wonder. How different and how wonderful it would all be if she was here with us. There will be joy in our house this year, because of the gift of God's son Jesus coming into the world, and the gift of our own two sons, but there will be a deep sadness as well, because each year there will always be someone missing.

We only filled two stockings. There should have been three.

I wrapped presents for three of the people I love most in the world, my husband, and my two boys, but what about my little girl?

Two little Christmas out-fits are neatly laid out on the couch ready to be worn by my children to the Christmas Eve service tomorrow night. There should be a little green velvet dress and burgundy shoes with bows sitting right next to the boys' snowman vests and corduroys, but the dress is still in the back of a closet. She will never wear it.

Nothing is quite the way it should be, nor will it ever be.

And yet, there is hope.

Hope found in another baby, the one who came 2000 years ago, born in a stable though He was God Himself. Hope because God made a way for us to be with Eliana again someday. Because He sent His son Jesus into this world to die on the cross for our sin, all we need to do is believe in Him, and accept Him as our Savior. Then, there is nothing that can break that promise, or steal that blessed hope, that we will all be together in heaven, celebrating through all eternity. That is why we can still celebrate tonight.

And though things aren't as they should be now, we are promised in Revelation 21:3-5 that we will not remain in this unfulfilled state forever. Speaking of the future, John writes:

“Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”

And that is why when the stockings are empty and the presents are unwrapped, there will be one more box left under our tree; a little package to be opened last. Inside? A little porcelein baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. Jesus is our greatest gift this Christmas. He is where our hope lies, in placing our faith in Him today, for a future with Him when everything will finally, once and for all be set right.

Merry Christmas, sweet little baby Elli! We wish immensely that you could be in our arms tonight, right in the center of it all, but we are so glad we know with complete assurance that you are with Jesus tonight. I know you are so happy, and so full of awe and wonder at all those beautiful heavenly sights. There you don't even need Christmas lights because the whole place is filled with the light of Jesus, and the angel choirs are singing the most beautiful Christmas hymns there could ever be. I can't wait to see and hear it all with you when the time is right. I love you so much, princess! Can you see the little Christmas tree we made just for you? You are in my heart each moment.

Here is Eliana's tree. We have added lights and a garland, and changed it some since this picture I took right after the boys helped me put some ornaments on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

7 Months

Happy 7 months in heaven, sweet little Eliana! We are missing you so much as Christmas draws nearer and nearer, and we are remembering you and loving you so much every day!

Over the last two days we have had a big snowstorm, so now your little garden dancer is dancing in the snow! I would so love to be able to spend this Christmas with you, but I feel so much peace when I think of how happy you will be celebrating with Jesus this year. I can't wait till one day when we will be together again. Until then, know that we love you so much, and you will always be our little girl.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Remembering at Christmas

If you are missing someone you love this Christmas, someone of ANY age who is spending Christmas with Jesus this year, I hope you will join us on this very special Walking With You. We are sharing our Christmas memories and the ways that we remember our loved ones who have gone home to heaven at Christmas time. If you do not have a blog or do not wish to link a post, you may leave your Christmas memories in the comments below. If you do a post on your blog, come back and link up on the MckLinky following this post on Kelly's blog, and you can also enter her give-away.

This year is our first Christmas to remember our daughter Eliana. Last Christmas we were excited to announce our pregnancy with her to all our family members. It was especially exciting when my husband's sister announced her pregnancy too. Our due-dates were just a week apart. Here we are at Christmas last year, so happy to be expecting our third child.

This year we thought we would be bringing our beautiful baby girl to all our Christmas gatherings, letting all our loved ones spend time with her. She would be all decked out in that pretty green velvet Christmas dress my Grandma still has hanging in the back of her closet, and we would allow her to be passed around from one set of loving arms to the next until she couldn't take it anymore and we had to rescue her. There would be lots of presents under the tree with her name on them, and a pretty pink stocking we would fill with little baby toys.

Instead, this year I am thinking of ways to honor her life, and trying to remember that as much as I want her in my arms this Christmas, she is so much better off in the arms of Jesus. Instead of wrapping up presents with her name on them, we picked out some toys we might have chosen for her if she was here to enjoy them to donate to a mission project at church, along with Candy Land that my son picked out. We will plan to do this each Christmas in her honor.

I've also been working on making Christmas ornaments for other families who have lost a baby. Please let me know if you would like one of these. I am still planning to make more before Christmas. You can e-mail me at, include your address, your child's name and gender, and year of their first Christmas in heaven, and I would love to send one to you.

Usually, each year I take off what I have on top of the entertainment center and set up a Christmas display. This year, I am going to leave it as it is, with Eliana's momentos, and I have just added two Baby's First Christmas rattles that each of our children have played with as babies.

I am planning to decorate a small tree for Eliana this year, with ornaments I have collected over the years since I was a little girl, and some butterflies and other things I have purchased specifically for her. I'm just waiting until my mom can bring the little tree I will be borrowing, so I'll have to post a picture of that later.

Finally, yesterday I purchased some Christmas flowers for Eliana's grave. I went to Wal-Mart, and was pretty disappointed in the selection, but ended up with some red and white flowers that would work. I still want to get one more red one to put in if I can find more at a different Wal-Mart. As I stood out in the cold putting them into the vase, I found myself obsessively trying to get them in there just right, and being continually disappointed with how it was turning out. Then I realized, it's not the flowers I am disappointed with, it's the whole act of celebrating my daughter's Christmas by decorating her grave. This is not the Christmas I had envisioned for her, or for our family. I want to be taking care of her this year, and so I do, in each small way that I can.

The gravestone in the picture is actually my Dad's. Eliana is buried in the same plot, and we haven't been able to purchase her stone yet. The plaque stuck in the ground next to it is her temporary marker that is faded now so you can't read it anymore. We're trying to save up money and hope to have her marker in place before her one year birthday in heaven.

Even as I write these things, and think of how much I miss my daughter, I am continually reminded of the joy she will be experiencing this Christmas in heaven. Joy that is greater than I can imagine, and greater than the very best things I could ever give her here on earth. If I could have one wish-to celebrate Christmas with her-I wouldn't ask to bring her back to be with us, I would ask if our family could please visit her in heaven, for just one day, so she could show us how happy she is, and all the love she is constantly wrapped in.

"Better is One day in your courts than thousands elsewhere." Psalm 84:10