A Special Christmas Memory Found in an Odd Place

photo(10)Kyla loves to play with my phone. At 2 years old, she can navigate an iphone amazingly well! Her favorite thing to do is look through all the pictures and watch the family videos. Many times I don’t notice which of the hundreds of pictures and videos she is scrolling through, but once in a while, she will play one that catches my attention and takes me back to a special memory. The other day was one such time. I heard my playful, silly voice talking about how, “mommy is pregnant…” and I stopped in my tracks. I could tell immediately when the video was from, and wanted to watch it, treasure it, and remember.

Every year, our church does a large Christmas outreach in our community, distributing food and toys to 350 local families. For the last 15 years, “Operation 350” has been a very special and important part of the Christmas season for our family. The video Kyla was playing was from Operation 350 of last year. It showed Kyla crawling through huge palettes of food, as I laughed about being so nauseous that I was letting Kyla scarf cookies.

I remember the distinct evening it was taken. Our whole family was at the church, doing last minute preparations and sorting of about 1,000 toys and dozens of palettes of food. I was so morning sick, but I wasn’t going to miss out on the fun! Between cans of sprite, and trying not to smell the food all around me, I took a nap on the floor of my office. Feeling temporarily better, I joined the others to do more sorting work.

Ironically, this week is our outreach for this year. Even today, Kyla and I are at the church, sorting food, cleaning, and preparing through piles of stuff.

It feels odd, almost like Deja vu. It’s the same, yet it’s different. I was pregnant and I’m not now, but I don’t have my baby. It seems like I am right back in the place I was last year, only I’m not, because she is not here. Making your head spin yet? Mine too.

When I heard that video playing, with my voice in the background, it almost seemed like it was another person. Someone else, who still giggled innocently about pregnancy. Someone else, who was full of hopes and dreams of new life. Someone else, who was unchanged by deep loss. Of course it was me. But it was a different me.

I felt both sadness and comfort as I listened to the video again and again (thanks to Kyla’s repetitive clicking)! Sadness to realize that I have less now than I did then. Sadness to realize that I am not the same person; loss has changed me. And sadness that some of the joy and innocence of life was taken. Yet I also felt some familiar comfort to be doing the same outreach again this year. I felt comforted to know that not everything has changed. And I felt comforted to know that the same God I served last year in joy, I am serving this year through trial and difficulty

A lot has changed in our family this year.

Yet not everything has changed. Jesus still came to earth as a baby, and redeemed mankind. The power of His sacrifice is still saving all who believe. Heaven is still waiting for all who choose Him.

There are still people who need to hear of His truth. There are still families who need touched by His kindness. There are still children waiting to find and receive a real love.

This week, even through the vivid memories that are happy and sad, I want to sacrifice of myself to serve others. I want to do what Jesus did and give.

I want to make both my heavenly Father and my heavenly baby proud.

What are you doing this Christmas season to give? I would love to hear about it!

He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it….And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. Matthew 10:39 & 42

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