Last night as I was driving back from a movie with Olivia and four of her little friends we saw a house totally decked out in lights for the holidays! Even the bushes were sparkling with color! I couldn’t believe it! My heart has struggled to be filled with the spirit of the season this year as we live so much “one day at a time” with Nick’s illness.

This morning I was sharing with my mom about the house we had seen, and she seemed to have the same “season struggle” as I have this year. We simply agreed that we just couldn’t get in the mood.

Little did I know that God was setting me up for a day I’ll never forget!

I headed out to run some errands. The first was to pick up a prescription for Nick at the pharmacy. While in the store, I decided to buy a couple new candle tarts for my tart warmer. While sniffing through the many scents, my eyes landed on a snowman air freshener for the car. I thought, “Maybe this will help me feel a little more “Christmasy,” so for $1.99, I decided it was a good investment.

While paying for my little treats, again my eye was drawn away by yet another holiday reminder – a huge Christmas tree near the checkout counter. On the tree, I spotted an ornament of a Ninja Turtle holding a candy cane! Nick has been watching all of the old Ninja Turtle movies lately, so I couldn’t resist!

When I got home, I told mom, “I think I may have gotten us started on our Christmas spirit!” She was so excited with the ornament especially!!! And we agreed that we needed to write 2008 right on his turtle shell as a reminder of this special year!

Later I ran to a different store for paper towels and laundry detergent. While checking out, my wandering eye caught sight of Christmas CDs (2 for $5.00!!). The first one I saw cracked me up! It was called, “NO WAY….It’s like so Christmas!” Guess what! It’s in my van now! (Yes, I paid for it!)

I left this store and ran to a friend’s house to drop off a little “happy fall” gift (I knew she liked candle tarts too!) and on the way was talking to another out-of-town friend who was celebrating a birthday today…………as I drove through the subdivision, I happened to look out my window and running along beside me was a deer much like the one above….antlers and all!!! As I looked at the deer, it looked back at me and then ran ahead and into the woods!!

I couldn’t believe it! I felt as if a reindeer had just ran alongside me saying, “Come on, Tammy, get in the spirit……… least for your kids’ sake!!”

Now, I am not a huge Santa fan and I definitely don’t think God promotes a belief in reindeer, BUT, I do believe that He may have used this deer to remind me that my Christmas spirit isn’t just about how I feel. It’s also about how my kids feel. And kids LOVE Christmas!!!

So, when I got back home, I told my mom (who is visiting for a week or so) that I thought we should decorate the house tonight! She couldn’t believe it! She was so excited! Suddenly, we were planning for something both of us had just been struggling to come to grips with hours before.

Thankfully, my husband is a huge Christmas lover and he jumped right in with the plans!! After Olivia’s basketball games we stopped at WalMart to get new lights, and I am thrilled to say that we now have our trees up sparkling with colored Christmas lights!! The kids had a blast! My oldest son came over from his college dorm to help with decorating and played Candy Land with Todd, Nick, and Olivia!!! It was hilarious! They all wore Santa hats and used two game boards hooked together…..Extreme Candy Land!!!!

Mom made cookies and brownies. Tim took care of the lights. I did the rearranging and decorating. We had Christmas music playing in every room!

This morning as I sat in the kitchen sipping my coffee and feeling rather melancholy about the holidays I never would have dreamed that tonight would have turned out to be such a special evening!!!

I thank God for causing my eyes to wander to reminders of the beauty of the season……..from snowmen to Ninja Turtles holding candy canes to Christmas music to “reindeer!”

If you are struggling to find a reason for the season, I am praying that God will cause your eyes to wander to His messages sent just for you! And if those messages seem difficult to hear or see, maybe reading God’s Words below will give you a reason to get in the Christmas spirit!

Luke 2:1-14

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Praying God’s Peace on You Tonight!