"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

About A Star...or two!

Early this morning, Anna Grace, AJ and I headed up north again to take Anna Grace to her last post-op appointment at Shriners Hospital. She got a clean bill of health and was told to return in one year to begin the proceedings for her final (hopefully) surgery on her hand.

She really is a star. Her recovery continues to amaze me. I took her to the park last week and was in awe at how she was scaling the monkey bars using both hands. She still had a couple of stitches that hadn't dissolved completely on the hand where she had surgery. It didn't phase her. We are now beginning massages 2 times a day in the areas where the skin was grafted to help provide elasticity and we're good to go. Truly amazing! Thank you, Jesus!

After a long day at the hospital, we arrived home at about 5 o'clock and after we had some down time we went to do some shopping. On the way home, we decided to drive through the neighborhood so that the kids could see all of the decorated houses. There was street after street lined with house after house glowing with beautiful lights. There were Santa Clauses on their sleighs, reindeer, Frosty The Snowman figures and everything that you could possibly imagine having to do with Christmas.

Sadly, everything but what Christmas really is about. The birth of our Savior. As we listened to the little ones scream out "Look at that one!" with each passing house, my heart felt heavier and heavier. We went up and down rows of streets and not one single house had a nativity set outside. Not one house reflected the real meaning of Christmas. Don't get me wrong. I love everything that comes with Christmas, the carols, the lights, the tree, and of course, jolly old St. Nick, but by driving down the streets you'd never know that it was the birth of the King of Kings that was being celebrated.

For years, I've been wanting a nativity outside our home. Every year as Christmas approaches, we've never been able to have one because we've been too tight financially to splurge on a big nativity set, which ranges in the hundreds. So, this year knowing how important it is to us to teach the kids the real meaning of Christmas, I bought myself a gift. I got this:

Yes, it inflatable. And YES, I LOVE it! It's not elaborate, it's certainly not a Fontanini Nativity Set but it says exactly what I wanted it to say, "Jesus is the reason for the season!" There's rarely a day that goes by that we don't go outside with the little ones and talk about Mary and Joseph not finding a place to stay and how Jesus was born in a manger. Their little minds are filled with questions that sometimes move me to the core. Kai asked me one night, "Mama, Mary sad cause baby Jesus cold. He outside sleep?" My heart wanted to delve into what I could only imagine Mary's feelings must've been when she gave birth to the Christ child, but I simply responded with, "Mary and Joseph made sure that baby Jesus was warm and was all wrapped up." I could see a small sigh of relief coming from him.

We've also taken the opportunity to talk about the star shining brightly and how the the wise men followed the star to find the light of the world, Jesus. They soak up each word I say and impress me at how much they retain when I ask them to tell Daddy about what they learned. Even at their young ages; two, three and four years old, I could see their blossoming love for our Lord and I am forever thankful to God for allowing me the honor and privilege of teaching them about the most important gift they will ever receive. The gift of salvation coming from the baby that was born on that first Christmas Day.

I often think of our Blessed Mother and how she must've cradled that newborn baby in her arms on that first Christmas. I wonder if she knew at that time, that a short 33 years later, she'd be cradling Him again, only this time, after he had willingly suffered and been cruxified for all of humanity. Can you imagine how sad it must make Mary to think that her son is being slowly pushed out of Christmas in today's world?

The majority of my neighbors are not "church-going" people and that's OK, it's never stopped me from telling them about my Lord when the need arises. But God is using that inexpensive, inflatable nativity in my yard in a big way. Last week, a little 5 year old that lives down the street was walking around the block with his Mom. I was outside with the kids. As they are turning the corner in front of our house, the little boy stops and says, "Mom, look that's Mary and Jesus." I stop and said, "Wow! You're right. That is Mary and Jesus." I know through a few conversations with them that they don't go to church and God really isn't a big priority in their lives. The Mom looks at me and smiles. I smile back and she says, "We were riding bike here the other day and D. asked me who those people were. I had to stop and tell them that it was Jesus and his mother and father. He wanted to know more so I may go out and get him a little story about the nativity for Christmas." I smiled and said aloud, "That's great!" My heart was yelling out, "Thank you, Jesus."



Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Well good for you for representin'! While Christmas is celebrated by both Christians and non-Christians, it's rather poignant that people understand where the "Christ" in Christmas comes from. Hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas, Ohilda!

Amy said...

...a Precious Gift...the MOST PRECIOUS GIFT...Thank you for sharing Him, Ohilda.


geminirn said...

That was beautiful Ohilda!!!Also so happy to hear that Anna Grace is doing so well.

Sherri said...

First of all, don't fret about the Christmas cards! If they come in late, it will give people something to read AFTER Christmas!

I LOVE the inflatable nativity. Our next door neighbors always had a nativity in their front yard, and can you believe it, my OLDER kids are the ones that noticed that it isn't up this year?

I'm with you, though. My heart aches when I think of how we have eliminated Jesus from Christmas.


Nicole said...

Love the inflatable nativity idea! I may have to do that next year!

Lisa said...

Praise God for Anna Grace, I also love your post and the nativity---blow up or not the message is getting out there.

sara Bowyer said...

What a great post!! I am like you, I have wanted a nativity in my front yard for years, but for it to be big enough to be seen, they are so expensive. I am going to look into that one!!! And how cool about your neighbor! Now you will have a reason to follow up, to see if she was able to find a book!!! God is so good

And so glad Anna Grace is doing so well. What an amazing little girl you have!

day by day said...

That is a wonderful story, Ohilda! I am the same exact way...every year I long to buy a nativity set for our front yard and we always come short on funds! Maybe I should look after Christmas and I could find some discounted prices, so I could have it for next Christmas...

Wonderful news about AG!! Loved the monkey bar story!!
I have also been loving sharing the Christmas story with my girls this year!!! They take it all in with such eagerness to hear the Good News!!

mommaof4wife2r said...

1. love the music!
2. ur kids are so stinking precious i think they should be on billboards!
3. i couldn't agree more about the decor!
4. thanks for helping me to put out the word on orphans around the world!!! i'm going to add a new button today!
5. love seeing other fams that are happy...and made!

Undercover-Princess said...

Someone near my MIL's house has one of those inflatable nativity scenes...right next to their inflatable santa snowball.

I am glad your girl has a clean bill of health!

mommy24treasures said...

I am so glad you have the nativity scene you always wanted. I am enjoying teaching Jacob and Chloe more about Christymas this year.
SO glad the report was positive for Anna Grace. That is such wonderful news.
Hope your cards arrive soon.

Keisha said...

Ohilda! I cried when I read that a neighbor had to stop and tell her child who those people were! Just an eye opener to many of us & HOW important it is to TELL of HIS Wonderful and Amazing story!!! Thank you for being REAL & wanting to teach your children & others the True Meaning of Christmas!
As I was reading what Kai said about Mary and baby Jesus.. I was reminded of a song I always sing at Christmas time.. It's called "Child of Wonder" If you don't know it... go listen!! It is just a Precious song!!!!
Love you!

Rachel said...

If I had a yard, I would SO get that!

Waitingfaithfully said...

So happy for Anna Grace's good report! Love your nativity! Thank you for sharing the story of your little neighbor guy--It reminded me to assume nothing. So sad that he had to ask his mama who "those people" were, but SO cool that because you put your nativity in his path he now knows who Jesus is. Thank you Lord!

Christmas blessings~


Aus said...

Hey O - this will please you - Both of the big box hardware stores locally here in Cincy had those inflatables. By the time I got to these stores - THEY HAD ALL SOLD OUT! OK - so I wasn't able to get one - but that means that at least locally - lots of folks are getting the idea! I'll find one early next year for sure!

Continue in a like and similar manner - many hugs -

aus and co.

Jill said...

HIP! HIP! HURRAY! Ohilda got her Nativity scene!!!
LOVE this story! HOW cool is that?!?!?

Oh dear. The Christmas cards...I pray they will come by mail on Saturday!!! Listen to me chant, "MAIL ON SATURDAY! MAIL ON SATURDAY!!!" Then, people will just assume that you mailed them to arrive RIGHT ON TIME for Christ's birthday!!

OH, and I must comment how thrilled I am at Anna Grace's hand healing so well! WONDERFUL!

Beverly said...

Great witness!!

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