Christmas Eyes

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.    Psalm 146:8

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESEvery year I try to make Advent sacred. While they color her printable ornaments, I read Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping The Greatest Gift aloud to my kids each day. I also encourage them to do kind deeds for others to earn pieces of yarn to line the crib for Baby Jesus. Each night, we light the candles on our Advent wreath, yearning for the light that will be born on Christmas morning.

But this year, things have been different. Not only has there been the usual chaos and busyness of the season, but my sister-in-law passed away down in Maryland. When my husband and I had to go there last week for her wake and funeral, I thought there was no way we’d be experiencing any Christmas magic this year. How very wrong I was.

Not only did my friend Jess and her kids move into my house to take care of my three kids, but Jess encouraged us to go a day early to avoid the predicted snow on Monday. At the drop of a hat, my mom came up to jump through all the Sunday hoops with my kids so my husband and I could board a plane. My mom then passed the baton to Jess that evening.

Going a day early meant my husband and I could avoid the stress of a delayed or canceled flight. More importantly, we got to attend the family gathering happening Sunday night in Maryland. On my kids’ part, us going early meant a 48 hour playdate with their grandmother, and some of their best friends: true magic for them! Unprompted, Jess even continued the Ann Voskamp readings with my kids while I was away: true magic for me.

It didn’t end there. During that Monday snowstorm, our neighbor Mike spent hours with his snow blower clearing our driveway in our absence. Tuesday, my friend Janet took Zack after school and brought him to and from his band concert that night. Also on Tuesday, my friend Pam took Mason and Jocelyn after school. She helped them with their homework, and then they got to play flashlight tag out in the snow with her kids, their other best friends: yet more magic for them!

Down in Maryland, my brother-in-law’s friends opened up their home to my husband and me. Without ever having met us, they put us up for two nights. They even had coffee, bagels, and homemade banana bread ready and waiting for us each morning. Mark and Maureen could not have been more welcoming and gracious.

Each and every one of these people have busy lives, made only busier by the Christmas season. Yet they dropped everything for us, and wrapped us up in their loving kindness. We were bowed down; they lifted us up.

Looking back over that difficult week from the perspective of my prayer chair, I now see God in every single one of those people. Where my focus used to be on the Advent waiting for Christ to be born on Christmas, God has opened my eyes to see that He is born every single day in those around us, if we just look with Christmas eyes. During a time of such sadness, I can now see just how much we were blessed.

In these final days of Advent, I wish all of you Christmas Eyes. I pray that God grants you the vision to see Him in all those around you. We never have to wait for December 25th. When we possess Christmas Eyes, we see Jesus born every single day, right in our midst.

Merry Christmas to all! And a deep, heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who helped and blessed us last week!!!!

Questions For Reflection:

     * Do I possess Christmas Eyes to see God in those around me?

     * If not, what is blocking my view?

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13 thoughts on “Christmas Eyes

  1. Claire, what a truly beautiful post! I thank God for the grace He has given you to see beyond the every day happenings to find Him in those around you. I love the “Christmas Eyes” and will be looking through those to see all the wonders of God both in people and events!! You are truly living the Advent season the way it is meant to be!! God bless you and grant you, John and your crew a blessed and happy Christmas. xo

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  2. Claire, you and your family are such a gift to all of us! I know that you have helped EVERYONE of the people who helped you last week in more ways than one (well maybe not the neighbor in MD but I am sure you blessed them while you stayed with them). You are always the first in line to help out the people you care about. It was a true honor to be able to help you and John and make sure that your trip could be focused on saying “Good-bye” to Kathy and not needing to worry about life at home. We love you all and love that God was able to work many miracles that week to make sure that your kids (and you and John) were well cared for. Love you all and Merry Christmas!

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  3. Again, I agree with Jess, so I’m basically going to plagiarize her words here. 🙂 You are always the one to be helping everyone else! You have helped me and my family many times, in many ways. I was so happy to be able to do something for you and I’m honored that you trusted me to care for your kids while you were gone. God puts people in our lives for a reason – because we need them and they need us. You don’t ever even need to say thank you, because I know how thankful you are and I know you are always there for me.
    Love you and your family always. xoxo Merry Christmas!

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  4. Sorry for the passing of your sister-in-law. You are truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in your life. At the worst of times people can be at their best. Merry Christmas Claire.

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