You’re getting ready for Christmas at your house I’m sure.  The Christmas spirit is in the air. This season of hope. This season of Christmas. Of remembering Jesus.  I hope there is joy at your house this season. Lots of joy. And laughter. I hope you’re taking time for the things that matter. Like hugs and words of encouragement and kindness. Tell people they matter. Tell them how much they are loved. How much YOU love them.  I hope there is lots of excitement about those wrapped presents. And lots of good food. Christmas carols. Christmas candy.  I hope it’s brimming with goodness, with love. But most of all, I hope it’s filled to the brim with Jesus. And your heart? I hope it’s overflowing with gratitude to God for that tiny little baby that came and changed the world.

You and I. We have so very much to be thankful for.
Even if Christmas is anything but what we thought it might be this year.

If your smile is pasted on.
If your laughter is heavy.
And your heart feels a million miles away.
If the gifts feel like too much. Or not enough. And the joy feels so far away. And Christmas seems anything but fair. When you feel overwhelmed and alone.
Tell your heart this:
That little tiny baby that came so many years ago? He came for you. For you. To hold you close this Christmas. This different Christmas.  To offer you hope, even through your tears. The broken dreams. That empty chair at your table. He cares. God sees your tears. Those fears that loom big before you. That diagnose you wish you could change. The future that looks so scary. Hope radiates this Christmas from the Bethlehem Child. And that hope is looking for room in your heart.

We have a Christmas that is different this year. We have a hospital stay scheduled for  Friday. Chemo. So many realities stare us in the face, things that are different from any other Christmas. We have blood work and that appointment with the doctor, to talk about things we never dreamed would be in our lives a year ago. I know a little bit of the different Christmas feel. And honestly somedays are so hard, leaving me with that lump that you just can’t quite swallow.

And I know, Christmas is different for a lot of you too. Some of you are missing a mother. A wife, a friend. She had such a heart for Christmas. For giving. For family. And my heart holds a deep ache for you. Courage, dear soul, I pray Jesus pours out courage into your different Christmas.
And for the ones missing a father. A husband.  A son. A brother. And so much more. Christmas hurts. That empty spot at that big Christmas table. Making Christmas so different for you. It’s part of your story, and it hurts. You miss him. I pray Jesus fills that void. With grace. Sweet, amazing grace in the midst of your different Christmas.

 In the hearts of people you and I meet everyday.  The people of this city, of this country, people in your little town, who are lonely, with families so broken I can’t begin to put together the pieces. But Jesus can. I pray that their hearts find Him. So He can bring His healing to their broken world. To their broken Christmas.

Maybe you feel unimportant. You feel overlooked. Left out. Forgotten. Christmas is different, because you thought you’d be somewhere different in life by now. Jesus knows exactly where you are. You have not been overlooked this Christmas. 

All of these stories. Your story. No matter how broken. No matter how far out there they may seem. That little Bethlehem babe, He came for you. He came for me. For this ‘season of different’ in my life. To bring me sparkles of hope. Like the sparkles the lights bring to the dark night. Sending out little rays of hope. I hope they find your heart.

I have been reminded of God’s presence so much lately. He is here. He is with me. And the same goes for you. He is there, right there, right now, He is with you. Regardless of what you are facing this day, this Christmas. No matter how different you find it. He is with you. He never promised life would be easy. That every Christmas would be full of joy.  But He did promise that he would be right there with me. With you. Even in the hard and the different. 

And that’s why this Christmas will be okay. This different Christmas. Today will be okay. Tomorrow will be okay. This next year will be okay. There will be tears, hard days ahead, there will be things we hear that we don’t want to, things we must face that will tear at our hearts and moments when it will hurt to breathe. That different might be here to stay. But He will be there. Right beside you. Right beside me. And that is the only way we can be okay in the different. The only way we can be okay this Christmas. Because of Jesus. 

So what’s been happening here in our world?  We are planning to move back home sometime the beginning of January!  Wes’ treatment plan has gone really well, and initially we were told it could take up to 6 months to complete and so that is what we planned for when we knew we would be moving to FL. His last treatment is scheduled over the new year and than we do our famous waiting game for 8 weeks, which takes us to the beginning of March before we are scheduled at Mayo again.  They will then do all the scans again to see how much, if any of the cancer is left in his body. (please pray with us, that it will be completely gone!) And depending on what the results will be, determine  the next steps. Waiting has been such a big part of our lives the last 6 months, but I don’t know if it ever gets easier. But I do know God will be there, even in the waiting.  Our little family is so excited to be moving home, even though it brings lots of mixed feelings. We have come to love this city and our neighbors have been true blessings.  The kind that have found their way to our hearts.  I wish to hit the forward button and just be home, the transition and moving is not so much fun. But it will be so good to be home and close to family.  We will most likely live the life of ‘hibernation’ for awhile till Wes’ immune system is built up a little more and the sickness that is going around isn’t so heavy, but we are all looking forward to having a little bit of our normal life back.

 Wes is scheduled for his last treatment, which is a hospital stay, on Dec 29. The hospital stays are no fun, just lots of mixed feelings and some big fear battles. But I know that God is stronger than all of that, and He sees and knows, and He cares.
Wes has been feeling pretty good, mouths sores have been a struggle, and are so painful. But other than that and the normal nausea, He is good. And we are still so grateful.

We were talking lately, about how much we have with so many friends and family who have committed themselves to walk this journey with us. I wish you could see our hearts. Because it feels like there are no words to describe the way we feel. They are literally overflowing. We have had so many moments of God just pouring out grace in tangible ways.  It humbles us, and makes us realize again what really matters in life. So many times we just find ourselves in tears. I think I say it every time I write here, but you all have done above and beyond what we could ever of asked for. Thank you. Thank you so very much. We pray that God blesses you richly in return.  I look around at so many of the people here in this big city, people so close to us, and if you look around, you can find them in your world too.  So much loneliness. So much pain.  And here we are surrounded with so much. So very much. Even in the middle of a Christmas that is different. If we have Jesus, we have more than we could ever ask for. What an incredible gift God gave. And my challenge for this Christmas is to not just keep this gift for myself.  For yourself. The incredible gift of Jesus. Share it. Tell people. May it be what I think on. What consumes me. May it be so much a part of me that it radiates from my heart. From my face. And may it be the very breath I breathe. Because really, it is.  

  May Jesus be the reason there is joy in your Christmas, even if it’s different.
Merry Christmas from our little family!


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