Monday, October 10, 2022

Evidence not seen- a blog read.

Blog from evidence not seen- read it here or check it out here (https://evidencenotseen.com/?p=361). This blog is about a year old, but relevant. 

I cannot believe this year is almost over, and Christmas is just around the corner! 

Thanksgiving is not a Romanian holiday, although we do celebrate as a family, and with our American friends in a near by city. It isn’t like we find things to decorate the house with easily etc. The end of October they go straight to putting out the Christmas decor, and some places before that. So Christmas has been on my mind since October, and now it is finally almost here.

Last year, I will never forget the date, November 28th, my dad was hit by a car as a pedestrian. Christmas was very different for us last year, as we weren’t sure for a few weeks if he was even going to make it or not, and we were so far away. I kind of forgot about Christmas. Our house wasn’t decorated. Every day was a sad day of just praying and talking with my step mom waiting for some kind of sign that God was going to do a miracle, and pull my dad through this. Long story short my dad is a walking miracle, by God’s grace and mercy. It has now almost been a year, and while he does still have some brain damage, he is very strong and healing more and more in his brain every day. He is driving, he is talking, and he is going across America with my stepmom sharing the Gospel. 

But all that to say, when I finally realized oh my goodness it is almost Christmas, we had like twelve days before Christmas came. We were not doing the normal ministry things we usually do in Romania for Christmas because of Covid-19, so I had twelve days to focus on just our family for Christmas. One year Chris and I had a twelve day of Christmas for he and I. I wanted to see if there was something simple we could do, and have a twelve day of Christmas count down with the kids. I looked on Pinterest. There are many out there. So I am not the only person who has had this idea of counting down to Christmas twelve days out. I was looking for something really special though, we always make Christmas meaningful and about Christ, but we needed something even more meaningful this year. I found ones that were making twelve days of Christmas for the neighbors. The one I liked the best had printables that said “What my Savior gave to me.” So each day had a printable that said “on the first day of Christmas my Savior gave to me….” I loved the idea. I cannot remember now the website, but I know it was on Pinterest. That to say this was technically not my original idea, but I ran with that one and made it our own. Some of her days I used and some of them we changed up. She didn’t have Bible verses on all of hers, and we wanted every one to have a Bible verse to go with it. We also have a large family with seven kids so we didn’t follow all her gift ideas either. We wanted it to be for our kids and not the neighbors. So we changed the original idea to make it our own. I also made my own cards just using card stock paper. We surprised the kids and everyday they got a gift all the way up to Christmas Day. Then on Christmas Day everyone received one larger gift instead of many gifts. They already had been receiving gifts every day, remember, so they didn’t need more than one on Christmas Day.

Grief has struck again this year, as my brother-in-law passed unexpectedly. It has been really hard on the family, and again we are so far away. We praise the Lord my husband was able to go be with his family during this time. It will be different decorating for Christmas without him, and again has made Christmas just kind of strange. There are so many people grieving this time of year, and it has reminded me why it is all the more important to forget about all the worldly ways of doing Christmas. It needs to be about making memories that will last a life time, the hustle and bustle, and purchasing the greatest gifts is kind of meaningless. We never know what tomorrow brings, and Christmas is the perfect time of year to make each moment with your family special and meaningful, and remind the kids that life isn’t all about us, but about our Savior who came to bring us new life in Him.

Now like I said we have seven kids, and we are missionaries so we don’t have lots of money to give big giant gifts for all the kids. There are very simple and inexpensive gifts you can give to your kids that are way more meaningful, and do not cost an arm and a leg. Some of the days last year we shared a family gift, and some of the days we had a family outing that was free. You can look on Pinterest for lots of good ideas, and I will share the ideas we did as a family, but I encourage you if you decide to do a twelve day count down to Christmas make your own gift ideas. You know your family, and your kids best, try to come up with something that will really mean something to them or you as a family. Make the gifts fit your family, and make them count by being your own idea. 

Alright so what you have all been waiting for, what did we actually do and give as gifts. Well here you go our twelve day to Christmas count down.

On the first day of Christmas Jesus gave to me…. Family and Friendship John 15:12-13 NKJV 12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” The gift we gave for the kids to open was a new family game we bought and as soon as we opened it we played it all together. 

On the second day of Christmas Jesus gave to me….Nourishment John 6:35, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” For the gift we bought a special bread that is our favorite this time of year and shared it together with homemade spinach dip. We also shared our favorite Christmas cookies. Not sure how we will have our bread this year, as the store that sales them we can’t get into right now because of the Covid restrictions in Romania. Maybe a Romanian friend can help us bake our own.

On the third day of Christmas Jesus gave to me…. Hope. Hebrews 6:19 “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure, and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,” The gift we opened was coloring pages of an anchor, the kids each colored one and copied the verse on their paper. We then used them to decorate the house, and kept them up til after the New Year.

On the fourth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me… Creation. Colossians 1:16 NKJV “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” For the gift take a family walk on the beach, or in a park, nature walk, and enjoy the outdoors to see God’s creation, but worship Him as the creator.

On the 5th day of Christmas Jesus gave to me….Music. Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.” Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in Your heart to the Lord.” We watched a live Christmas concert on youtube, but you can buy a music CD or just watch one song to sing together as a family, or make a song to the Lord as a family. These are all great gift ideas, doesn’t cost anything unless you purchase the CD, and a great way to spend time together worshipping the Lord. 

On the 6th day of Christmas Jesus gave to me His word… Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Great gift ideas for this would be to buy your kids their own Bible, purchase a Bible study. Kim Sorgius from https://www.notconsumed.com/ has many wonderful Bible studies to purchase for your kids. They come with fun things as well to go along with the studies. She also has many studies and items you could purchase for the first day of gifts to celebrate Jesus giving us family. For this gift we purchased each of our kids a head lamp to represent lighting up their path. They already had their own Bibles.

On the seventh day of Christmas Jesus gave to me… Forgiveness and washed me clean. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” For this gift we bought each of our kids a new bath sponge. 

On the 8th day of Christmas Jesus gave to me… Light. John 8:12 “Jesus spoke… I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” We took a family walk around our city center to see all the Christmas lights. If you do the Bible for the gift of Word, you could give the head lamps or any kind of flashlight for this day as well. 

On the 9th day of Christmas Jesus gave to me… Comfort. Isaiah 49:13 “Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, o earth! And break out in singing, O mountains for the Lord has comforted His people and will have mercy on his afflicted.” Any gifts that bring comfort are a good idea, bathrobes, hats, mittens, cozy socks, hot chocolate, whatever you think of. We did a mixture of these ideas so not every kid got the same thing on this day.

On the 10th day of Christmas Jesus gave to me…Strength. Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Ok I think this gift was the kids all time favorite. We bought boxing gloves then had a boxing tournament as a family. We laughed so hard. We didn’t have to spend a lot of money we bought just two pair a big pair for the bigger ones and a small pair for the little kids. Even our one and a half year old had a blast boxing with his brothers. But there are many gifts to represent strength. You can purchase small weights and work out together, or a mini trampoline, or save money and do a workout video together on youtube. 

On the 11th day of Christmas Jesus gave to me.. Love. Romans 8:38-39 ” For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There are so many things to teach your kids unselfish love. You could help at a homeless shelter, or we baked cookies together and took them to our neighbors. Really there are so many things you could do; put together a Samaritan’s Purse shoe box as a family for Christmas. This one takes a little more thought and time, but the list really is endless. The point is to not only show your kids the love Christ has for them, but to share that love with others. 

On the 12th day of Christmas Jesus gave to me…Eternal Life. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that who so ever believeth in Him should not Perish but have everlasting life.” This gift was a little more tricky as we had to really think of what we could give to represent eternal life. We decided a circle was a good representation of that, so we purchased bracelets for all of us that said “Nimic Fara Dumnezeu” which is Romanian for “Nothing without God.”

As the business of the year has already begun; we are already preparing for Christmas programs at church, having teams come for outreaches, talking about the kids going caroling, and many other things going on, may we not waste the opportunity to teach our kids what Christmas is really about. I love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of year, I love the lights most of all, and decorating, but we can get so caught up in those things we miss what others might be going through. Last year I didn’t know if my dad was going to make it, and this year he is a walking miracle. Also this year my family is grieving yet again. Christ wasn’t just born as a baby He came to give us salvation, hope, and eternal life even through the hard times. Our kids need not to be so wrapped up in “give me give me,” and asking for all their wants, but to understand Christmas is an opportunity to reach out, not only to each other as a family, but to those around you as well. May the brightest light during Christmas this year shine from you and your family. God bless and I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season in our Savior. I will probably not write much more until after the New Year, but you all will be in our thoughts and prayers. I will try to get some 12 day of Christmas cards made for you to print off if you don’t have time to make your own, but no promises there. 

Thank you for praying for our family during this time!! God Bless

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