Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

It’s that enchanted and magical time of year when the air is crisp enough to snuggle up by the fire, and it’s time to take the bins out of the garage and the attic to start getting ready for Christmas!

This whole weekend, our 3-year-old could talk about nothing more than “Mommy and Daddy, I want to decorate for Christmas!” We could defer his requests no longer and had some free time on Sunday afternoon.

So, up to the attic and to the garage my husband and oldest son went to begin lifting and hauling in the magical wonder bins that bear the essence of Christmas and all that comes with it. They tossed the fake tree in its three separate bags over the railing to land on the living room floor below with loud and exciting thuds that delighted and thrilled the adventure-loving little boys. The Christmas season was officially underway!

I told Alexa to “play Bing Crosby Christmas songs” while the bins and totes came down. The kids began popping off the lids and playing with all the festive knick-knacks, adoring the picture ornaments collected from their preschool over the years, putting on reindeer antlers and Santa hats from gag gifts, asking me to take their pictures. Oh, the Christmas cheer as the men assembled the tree, and we tested the strands of lights for which ones were duds and which ones would glow the cozy light when all the other lights had dimmed.

The kids came across the sweet little, non-breakable, kid-friendly nativity set they love playing with every year. Scattered through the bins, one by one, they pulled out all the animals and characters they could find for the nativity scene. They took turns pushing the “Away in a Manger” button on top, over and over. . . and over.

Oh, the Christmas cheer filling the house. My husband and our oldest son began stringing the lights on the tree, then the little boys and I began hanging ornaments. The Christmas tunes filled the background, while I swiftly grabbed little ornament beads off the floor from a broken ornament, so our 1-year-old didn’t eat them. Oh, the merriment!

RELATED: Finding Gloria

We finished an initial pass of “Christmas decor.” We still had more to go, but enough was set up to begin to feel in the “Christmas spirit.” Our 3-year-old was beaming brighter than the tree lights. We sat down for a thrown together at the last minute dinner and enjoyed just being all together.

After dinner, we were cleaning up, and as I passed by the nativity scene sitting on the counter I noted the Angel Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, the wise men with their gifts, a bunch of the animals . . . “But!” I exclaimed into the air, “We lost Jesus!”

“Well, I will pray you find him!” said my husband in his tongue-in-cheek wit while doing the dishes.

Where did we lose Jesus? I feel like maybe he didn’t make his way back in the bins last year. So I went on a hunt. In the bins of toys, animal characters, nope. In the Christmas binsdown to the bottom of themnope. In random Nerf gun bins, on the off chance he ended up in there with some loose darts? Nope. The kids surrounded me curiously wondering why I was digging with such fervor and focus in their toy bins.

“No Jesus?” my husband asked.

“No. I cannot find Him!” Jesus was not anywhere. In all the bins of Christmas decorations, in the toy bins, hiding under or around the tree, under the sofasJesus was not anywhere to be found.

And as soon as those words escaped my mouth, I felt that gentle Holy Spirit nudge on my heart, “As you prepare for Christmas, don’t lose Jesus.” Oh, the gentle conviction in my heart. I didn’t feel it as a reprimand but rather His tender way of bringing me back to Himself.

Lord, the wise men came with their extravagant gifts. So many gifts. Oh, the many gifts we will wrap to be unwrapped this Christmas. And the hustle and bustle we busy mamas will encounterBlack Friday sales, coordinating with family about when and where we will all convene to watch “White Christmas.” The cookies, the meals, the gifts, the Christmas lights, the hot cocoa, and the half-eaten cookie Santa leaves on the table beside the note. Oh, the joyful and magical wonder of little eyes as they run down the stairs on Christmas morning . . . all the delights of the season.

My husband and I have looked high and low for the baby Jesus. We’ve looked in bins, in boxes, on shelves, in closets. We have not found his little plastic nativity figurine.

Though we have not found it anywhere, in sweet tenderness, we have been finding Jesus many other places. In the Thanksgiving songs sung by the preschool choir about gratitude and God’s blessings. I found him as I was driving to pick up Chinese food and an old classic worship song came on a playlist and brought me to tears with the tender presence of God. I found Jesus as I read on the bookmark that my son made at school that he was thankful for “the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and my whole family.” I found him as my husband and I talked and prayed and surrendered certain plans we’ve been dreaming and hoping for to Him. I found Jesus in the bright twinkle of my baby girl’s eyes as she’s been learning to take her first steps.

RELATED: When It Just Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas, Look for the Baby In the Manger

I’ve found Him as I slow down, pause, take a breath, and look across the room into the eyes of the man of my dreams as our precious mess and noise-makers swirl around us, and I remember the days I prayed for all of this. I have found Jesus driving down the street and seeing the vibrant beautiful colors of fall turning to winter and marveling at God’s presence with us in all the seasons.

I’ve found Jesus, as we grieve the loss of the father of a close family friend of ours, as we celebrate him going home to the arms of Jesus. I’ve found Jesus in quick prayers saying, “Holy Spirit help us find the missing lunchbox,” and He shows me a flash picture, and I go where He showed me in my spirit and the lunchbox is right there! I’ve found Him in the tender vulnerable dependence of all our little ones, how sacred that dependence and trust isthat they know their little needs will always be met.

We may have lost the Jesus figurine, but I realize more than ever that He is hiding in plain sight if we will only ask Him to open our eyes to where He is and to help us to partner with Him in what He is doing, today . . . now.

We will make many preparations this Christmas season, but in the midst of the holiday cheer and festivities, may our hearts not end up saying, “we lost Jesus.” Rather, Jesus, may we find You, our Precious King. Our Humble Savior. Beautiful Jesus. This Christmas, may our hearts truly rest and our eyes lift in awe and wonder as we find You.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Ellie Marooney

Ellie is a wife and stay-at-home mom, living with her love and renaissance man, Matt, along with their 6 sons and 1 daughter. Her heart is alive singing and playing the piano in worship. She loves photography, neon pink nails, and cutting and styling hair as a licensed cosmetologist. She and Matt have a passion for helping hurting marriages and love doing life as a blended family with 7 kids - each one so wonderful and unique, while driving around town in their 15-passenger Ford Transit van. Having a big family was never what she expected - but following and trusting Gods bigger plan has been the greatest adventure!

Mary Reminds Us That Even When We Don’t Fit In, We Have a Place With Jesus

In: Faith

Sometimes we just don’t fit in. I don’t mean when someone accidentally forgets to invite us to something or a group of friends happens to meet up without us. I mean that kind of not fitting in where you’re surrounded . . . but alone. You’re tolerated but not celebrated. You’re used but not welcomed. You’re in it but not a part of it. You’re there because it’s where circumstances have put you . . . but the people would have never chosen you. And you know it. And it hurts. And it feels like there is nothing you can...

Keep Reading

I Hope My Grown Kids Cherish Their Childhood Christmas Memories As Much As I Do

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Family by holiday fireplace

Tonight my husband and I started decorating for Christmas. It’s different now. We slowly put up the tree these days, using the same decorations we’ve used every year, but as we look through our boxes of ornaments, we see more than tiny figures, we now see memories. We have 36 Christmases stored in those boxes. A lifetime really, and a lot has happened in that time. We didn’t even have a tree that first Christmas. We laughed as we talked about that tonight, remembering our tiny apartment that was really just one room, plenty big enough for the two of...

Keep Reading

Christmas is about the Joy, Not the Gifts

In: Living
Family coming over for Christmas and hugging at the door

“My sister would love that!” I squealed, picking up the large stuffed Great Dane I spotted while shopping with my friends from school. “Oh, and it’s a good price. I’m going to get her that for Christmas.” I didn’t always get along with my sister, but being away at school for a semester had softened my heart. I couldn’t wait to tell Mom about the gift I’d found. “That sounds wonderful, honey,” Mom’s voice made me smile. But I noticed it sounded sad. “Lori, I don’t want you to get your hopes too high for Christmas this year. We’re making...

Keep Reading