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Angels

December 25, 2016
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THE gift.

Growing up in the 1970’s my parents had a beautiful nativity set which was set up in our mantle every year. It was accentuated by a beautiful sky behind it made by my mom. It was deep navy blue and she had placed lights and angels all over it with a large star. It was so beautiful over our fireplace and as a kid I would often sit and look at it while thinking about all that Jesus meant to me.

Fast forward to last year when my two youngest kids and I were dragging my parents’ decorations from their attic to help them prepare for Christmas. My mom had decided to purge some old decorations and handed me a sandwich baggie filled with the little angels from our childhood nativity. She said “You can throw those out.” I gasped and said “Throw out the angels?” She laughed at my horror and said “You can have them.” So I took them home in the little baggie.

This year when we were decorating our house (by “we” I mean my youngest daughter, Kolbe, because I was sick in bed.) Kolbe asked me what to do with the angels. I certainly could never throw them away but also, what should I do with a baggie full of tiny angels from the seventies? I told her about the beautiful sky my mom created for our nativity scene and how much they meant to me. I could not possibly part with them this year and then I put them completely out of my mind.

This morning as my kids were passing out all the gifts from under our tree I was handed a wrapped box which said “To: Mom, From: Kolbe” and all my kids said “That will be the last present anyone opens because nobody wants their present to follow that one.” And they warned me that I would cry. Kids are mean, anticipating my crying. Who do they think they are?

I was determined that I would NOT cry. I would be an ice princess with zero emotions. I was expecting some sort of photo project with images of my babies, now all adults. NO. No crying.

After waiting what seemed like FORFREAKINGEVER for all my peeps to finish opening all their gifts from Jon and I and from each other and then opening all the gifts for me from each person, I was left with the one box that was declared “the last gift.” I was hungry, brunch was almost done, my champagne was good and cold, waiting for me on the patio steps and I was ready to be tear-free and show my kids that I have a heart of stone. LET’S DO THIS.

I opened that box and when the first layer of tissue was removed I could not believe my eyes, nor could I stop the river of tears. My Kolbe had taken each of these tiny 70’s angels and attached them to a string of lights which she then wrapped around a wreath covered in deep navy blue tulle ribbon. Absolute perfection.

I wept like there was no tomorrow.

After drying my face, we all agreed that nobody should ever buy anybody another gift EVER because this was THE gift. My childhood joined to my adulthood, and on a Christmas on which I couldn’t be with my parents, well, it just brought so much comfort. AND JOY.

I know Christmas isn’t about stuff. I know this. It is about God becoming a tiny baby who would grow to sacrifice His entire self for all of us. It is the story of the Incarnation and the story of our salvation. It is the proof that each of us is loved more than we could ever imagine by our God who would have come to save us even if there was only ever one human to save. It is the fulfillment of a promise and the completion of a covenant between God and man. It is real love, an all encompassing, overwhelming, powerful love that withstands everything and anything. It is the remembrance of an event now rich with traditions which further serve to bring us closer to the God who created us from nothing yet longs for us to love Him.

For me, today, it is a reminder that I am part of something that can never die, not just the family from which I came but also the family I helped create. It is about a sense of belonging and a knowledge that God loves me, always has and always will.

Each of us is loved, more than we know. I wish I could just convince everyone everywhere. God IS love and each of us is His favorite ever.

All this sprang from an inspired, loving gift of 70’s angels on a wreath. Maybe not a miracle, per se, but an amazing inspiration.

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