It is Christmas morning, and all is quiet in the Abella home. 2 of our 3 children are upstairs, as is hubby, all snuggled deep under covers. They don't smell the fresh made cinnamon toast from homemade breads and the warm bread pudding with homemade buttercream frosting sitting in the kitchen awaiting them, or if they do they're not ready to stick a toe out into the chilly air. The coffee is ready, as is a pot of fresh brewed pumpkin spice tea to warm us up on this cold morning.
Today is Christmas, the day we celebrate Christ's birth. Without His birth, He couldn't have lived a sinless life, preached and lived out the Gospel, and allow Himself to be our sacrifice, our propitiation... Without His birth, there wouldn't have been the Cross. I know, we don't know His exact birthday, and we can surmise different days in the fall...that's fine..until He tells us exactly what day, our family will continue to celebrate on the traditional day, with that reminder of what He came to earth to do.
This year has been a difficult one for our family. The last half was completely stressful, with numerous hospitalizations for my biological son Kevin, a rotator cuff surgery for hubby, and a move to a new home for us all in a short amount of time. It has been a faith builder, a tester, and a strength builder. It has made us appreciate more the love of Jesus, His grace and mercy, and made us lean upon Him for everything--rather than just paying lip service, actually doing it. He has shown us He will take care of all of our needs, even some wants, and to Him be the glory!
Right as we needed it, He provided us a house larger in size than our old one, when the landlord chose not to fix a rather major plumbing issue (raw sewage overflowing in the basement for weeks)...we chose to move due to the health issue, and was blessed with a 4 bedroom 2 story home 4 blocks from hubby's dad and mom...right where he wanted to be. Each child has their own room now, they are no longer cramped into tiny rooms to share. Our heating source is different, and it is a bit harder to keep the house warm, but it is a teaching tool to use layers of clothing, blankets and comforters, to eat more of my home baked goodies that I make in the night during the coldest of nights (to keep the pipes from freezing and bursting in the single digit cold I stay up and bake and keep space heaters going--I can sleep during the day and it prevents a huge problem with water). The move was hard, as we decided to move on a Friday, I started packing on Saturday, we put deposits on this house on Monday, and started moving in right after. Hubby had his rotator cuff surgery the following Friday, repairing a total tear that had left him unable to use his dominant arm. Family and church family rallied with us and helped us get moved, and it was mostly accomplished in a matter of days. The unpacking is taking a little bit longer--there's still one room left to tend to, but with 9 rooms and some large closets, cleaning and tending to family needs, and handling issues that arise with special needs children, it could be much much worse.
With the move came larger bills associated with the expedition. Much higher electric bills (the heat is electric and it's been bitter), a raise in most other monthly bills, and seemingly tiny incidentals that come from left field all take a larger bite of our small income. We didn't have the funds for Christmas presents, let alone much of the bare necessities.
But God came through in a way only He can do.
He moved 2 agencies to take on our family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, without us applying or asking for anything. One group, who is close by family--hubby's sister led the way--filled our pantry, fridge, and freezer with enough food to last so far a month and a half. It freed up funds to purchase flour and baking necessities to work with as well. Another group, who is close by life long ties to hubby's family, adopted the kids with an "angel tree" type thing, and loaded them with more presents than we buy in 3 years or more. The kids don't know they were not going to have any presents, or 1 or 2 at the most, this year. They see the overwhelming abundance under the tree, and on each tag, they see only the "to". They keep asking if we bought those all...we keep telling them that God provided for them...and leave it at that. We know God moved these Christian folks to do what they've done to help us, and we're very appreciative of them, that they also are close to the Lord and able to hear when He speaks to them. I still tear up seeing the amount, knowing where they came from...and how people could love others so much to do what they do. :)
In my own way, I've tried to give of what I have. I bake a lot, homemade breads from whole grains, sourdoughs, all from scratch, and when I bake I make for an army. This lets me give away to others. I've been enjoying sending loaves of pumpkin bread, apple cider bread, homemade cookies, etc with Mr. Kevin's in-home attendant (who may or may not know the Lord, but praying we can be a witness), loaves of bread to church family, friends, family. It isn't much, but it's what I have, given of my time, heart, and hands. I wish I could give more....
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season! Take a look at your blessings, and remember Who is the giver of all things!
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