tree-trimming-tx

Those babies.

Those babies.

Nothing has ever shaken me quite like this has. As I am sure is true for most of you.

I won’t put into words what I see when I imagine the events of last Friday—they’re too horrible. As mothers and fathers, I think we have all projected ourselves into that situation, and we are left with questions with no answers: How will those families ever go on? How will those sweet, innocent survivors ever be able to sleep at night? Why them? Is there anything we can do?

I wish I could take the pain away, I wish I could give them hope, I wish I could run to them, and tell them they can lean on me.

All day on Friday, I kept thinking of how those little children, at the start of their day, were filled with wonder and anticipation for the holidays, and then they saw things no one should ever see in a lifetime.

Through my tears and agony for the terrible loss of their innocence, my mind kept turning to another child, whose life we celebrate at this time.

tree-trimming-3

Forgive me if you weren’t expecting something spiritual, but I want to tell you a little bit about what I believe.

I believe in God, and that He has a plan for His children on earth. I believe His son is Jesus Christ, who came to earth to live among us, to experience our joys, and our sorrows. He came as a baby, so He could feel what we feel, so He would know how to love us, and how to run to us when we need Him. He is my only source of comfort at this time, and my only hope. I love Him. I know He loves us, and that He loves those families in Connecticut, and that He cries all their tears right along with them.

I don’t know all the answers. I don’t know why heaven did not intervene. But I do know God did not leave us here alone, and that if we trust Him, He will one day make everything right. We just have to hold on, and be there for each other. One day—probably not in this life—but one day, the answers will come.

Every Christmas, my family and I try to grow closer to Jesus Christ. We do the Santa thing, and the cookies, and the Harry Connick Jr. music, but at the beginning of the season, we like to come together and really focus on what the season is all about: the arrival of a baby who would change the world.

A friend of mine shared a tradition her family started long ago, and we have adopted it for our own family. Each ornament we put on the tree represents a specific scripture about Jesus. Most of the scriptures we use come from the Bible, but some of them come from works of scripture we believe in in our faith.

We have had fun over the years collecting ornaments, and trying to find new ones that will fit with our theme. I admit, some of the ornaments are a stretch, but it’s fun, all the same. When we take out each ornament to decorate the tree, we take turns reading the scriptures that go with each one.

This year, when we look at our tree, those ornaments and scriptures mean so much more to us, because they let us know that there is hope.

What holiday traditions do you have in your family that are helping you cope at this time? 

tree-trimming-9 tree-trimming-6 tree-trimming-5

tree-trimming-7 tree-trimming-8 tree-trimming-4

tree-trimming-2 tree-trimming-13

Snowflake: Isaiah 1:18 (from the Old Testament) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Wrapped Present: Matthew 7:11 (from the New Testament) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Candle: Matthew 5:14-16 (from the New Testament) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Angel: Luke 2:13-14 (from the New Testament) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Gold Ball filled with Frankincense and Myrrh (which you can get at health food stores—cool, huh?): Matthew 2:11 (from the New Testament) And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Heart: John 3:16 (from the New Testament) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Lantern: 1 Nephi 17:13 (from the Book of Mormon) And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.

Apple: 1 Nephi 8:11-12 (from the Book of Mormon) And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit (the fruit represents the love of God, as seen in a dream by a prophet)

Not pictured:

Star: Matthew 2:1-2 (from the New Testament) Now when Jesus was aborn in Bethlehem of Judæa in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Star: Helaman 14:5 (from the Book of Mormon) And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.

Beehive: Isaiah 7:14-15 (from the Old Testament) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.

Crown: Isaiah 9:6 (from the Old Testament) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty gGod, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Dove: Matthew 3:16-17 (from the New Testament) And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Fish: Mark 1:16-18 (from the New Testament) Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Chicken: Matthew 23:37 (from the New Testament) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Can you think of any other ornaments that would work?