Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Joy Story

Homeschooling? It's a long obedience in the same direction. It's the epitomy of stick-to-itiveness. It's perseverance at its best.

My Siah wrote a Christmas essay for one of his live online classes. When he was done with it, he asked me to read it. It was kind of an emotional moment for me. Writing has been one of this kid's greatest challenges throughout our entire homeschooling journey. And reading his essay this Christmas, blessed me in two major ways. First, I was simply blown away at the fact that HE wrote this essay. Blown away by the simple things, like the fact that it makes sense and flows. Teaching a sweet little boy to write something that makes sense, is truly no easy task! And although these technical things are truly lovely and feel fabulously triumphant at this very moment, the second thing I love about this essay is that it reveals so much of my boy's heart. It's just a Christmas essay. I know that. But I think I'm just blown away by his words, and by the way that he views Christmas and Christ and family. I'm encouraged to keep up this "long obedience in the same direction," because his words are somehow this sweet little testimony to me, his mom-teacher, that Jesus is doing His thing in my boy, despite my 10,000 weaknesses and all the days that have felt like we were just heading in the wrong direction all together. 

I'm posting this essay in hopes that it brings hope in this season of Christmas, which is all about hope. I'm hoping it inspires us to keep on keeping on, even on the countless days when we want to give up. The academic stuff really does come in time, if we are consistently consistent. But the deep soul work that we long for in our kids above all things, comes too. It comes in the form of grace and glory and joy. His grace lavished on us, for His glory, and our joy. The soul work is always evidence of His unfailing faithfulness to do in us and our kids more than we can ever think up or imagine. 

So here it is__
Sian's Christmas Essay, 2017

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son… (John 3:16)” Christmas would not be around if the Lord did not send his son to save us. This means that if Jesus did not come, there would be no reason for Christmas, and all the traditions that we have created over the years would be meaningless. Thankfully Jesus did come, and now we have an incredible reason to celebrate. Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year.  In my family we have many Christmas traditions, but my three favorites are, the birthday breakfast, spending time with my grandparents, and hunting for our Christmas tree in the mountains.

In my family, when it comes to food we all crowd around the table with anticipation and joy. As everyone makes their way into the dining room, the smell of the sizzling bacon and fresh baked cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven captivates us. After everyone gets situated in their spot at the table, Mama lights the candles and we all sing Happy Birthday to Jesus at the top of our lungs. Papa prays and thanks the Lord that Jesus did indeed come to earth to save us from our sins.  Then we dig in! What a commotion it is! Everyone talks all at once, saying things like,” pass the bacon please,” and “can I have a napkin.” Someone inevitably knocks over a glass of orange juice and everyone laughs while Mama rushes to get the paper towels to clean it up.  Then it mysteriously quiets down as everyone shovels food into their mouths. All you can hear is the munching and crunching of happy kids, parents, and grandparents.  Mouthwatering cinnamon rolls, crunchy bacon and cheesy eggs, what more could one ask for? As we eat, my Papa reads the story of Christmas from The Jesus Storybook Bible. The food is fantastic, but the best part of the morning is really all of us being together and celebrating the gift of Jesus in our lives.  
Before we moved to Texas, my Gramps and Nana (from my mom’s side) lived across the field on the same property that we lived on. Through the years, my siblings and I got really close to them. Going to their house on Christmas Eve grew into a tradition that I love. My Nana makes fajitas, and we all open our stockings. And to finish out the evening, we go to the Christmas Eve service together at our little country church. Then on Christmas Day, Gramps and Nana come to our house early in the morning. There is something wonderful and comforting about having family close at Christmas time. I’m grateful for the traditions we’ve created over the years with my grandparents, but I’m also grateful just to have them be a part of our everyday lives.   

Although spending time with extended family is wonderful, my absolute favorite Christmas tradition is hunting for a Christmas tree in the mountains with close family friends. This is done at the beginning of December whether it is hot or cold. Some years have been flaming hot and we trek through the forest in T-shirts and jeans. Other years it has been frigid, and we have all bundled up and left our tracks in the snow as we search for the perfect tree. My favorite years are the ones when the snow is falling, and I can feel the warmth of my breath under my scarf. There have also been years when the snow is so deep our cars get stuck and the Papas must pull each other out with their big trucks. It is fun feeling like I am lost in the woods, while simultaneously hearing all the shouts of the kids who think that they found the perfect tree. I also love the challenge of carrying our tree back to the car. It’s a lot of work pulling those things up steep ravines and around large boulders. I feel a deep sense of accomplishment once the tree is tied onto our trailer and we are heading back down the mountain. 
Out of the many traditions that my family has, acknowledging and celebrating Christ with a birthday breakfast, spending time with the special people in my life, and hunting for the perfect Christmas tree, are my three favorite things to do during the Christmas season. All three of these things are reminders of how glorious God’s gifts really are. The birthday breakfast allows us to celebrate Christ’s birth and the greatest gift God has ever given in the history of the world, in giving us his one and only Son. Spending time with my grandparents reminds me of the gift of family and the blessing of not having to live life alone. And hunting for a Christmas tree reminds me of the gift of God’s Word and all the promises that fill its pages. “You will seek me, and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) Christmas, to me, is all about seeking, discovering, and celebrating all of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. And for that, I am grateful.   

Josiah Malachi, I'm so proud of you buddy; proud of your growth in your writing, but really just truly blessed by your love for the Lord. :)