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Yes....Christmas is for all of us. However, if you ask any parent they will tell you that Christmas is all about the kids. The anticipation. The excitement. The magic! Christmas is different when you have kids around you. We are blessed to have three amazing kids to celebrate with, but this Christmas is already very different.

As we sing our favorite Christmas songs, there is noticeably one less voice singing along. When we gather to watch our favorite Christmas movies, there is less laughter. Gathering around the table, there's an empty chair that screams to us that things are different now. And forever. BUT - Christmas is beautiful. And it's not any less beautiful because Ella isn't with us. It's still a celebration of a Savior who was born so that we may have the hope we are now walking in daily. It's just......different.

Last weekend, I had the honor of leading our worship ministry in a musical I wrote called "Shepherds and Kings". Though we wrote these words a year ago, they now hold so much more truth for me and speak to right where I am today:

Mercy For Me

I have presents for the children wrapped beneath the tree

I have decorations all lit up, you can see them down the street

I have cookies baked, and mom's fruitcake, it's a family recipe

But I could use a little mercy for me

I'll go sledding with the neighbors down the Taylor's hill

And I'll sing along with carolers, it's always such a thrill

I'll send Christmas cards and in the yard put a life-sized manger scene

But I could use a little mercy for me

In the middle of the joy I feel at Christmas

I'd be lying if I said I didn't have this ache inside

That doesn't mean that I don't love the season

But, there's a reason why I try so hard

to make the season bright

So I'll play Frank Sinatra records of my favorite Christmas songs

I'll put candles in the windows 'cause that's what we did back home

And I'll stay up late to celebrate another Christmas Eve

But I could use a little mercy or me

And so, we will do just that. We will celebrate family. We will celebrate life. We will celebrate four people who are spending Christmas with their families this year because in death, Ella gave them life. And we will celebrate the gift we named Ella. One of the greatest gifts we've ever received. We will sing songs, open gifts, and enjoy amazing treats, and do all we can to "make the season bright". But, it will be different.

As for Ella, well.....Christmas will be different for her, too. She will be spending her first Christmas with the Savior whose birth we will be celebrating. So, Merry Christmas, baby girl. As we sing "Joy to the World", I can only imagine the joy on your face as you celebrate Christmas in Heaven.

#Christmas #2016