Last month I was dreading the holidays, sadness would overwhelm me as I just thought of what it would be like to try to “celebrate” without Sophie here. But as I prepared my heart for Thanksgiving finding ways to truly be thankful in all circumstances and finding ways to thank the Lord for crazy things like kitchen meltdowns and my protruding post-baby belly my heart began to feel lighter. As Thanksgiving came, there was unexpected joy in the midst of the tears. Kevin and I have embraced the tears and sadness that have come this holiday season but we’ve also found ourselves celebrating in the midst of our loss in new and fresh ways. The unexpected joy that came at Thanksgiving gave me hope for how the Lord would meet us during this Christmas season. And He has not disappointed, there have been many sweet moments in the midst of the tears that God has given us as we walk through the holidays which can seem to heighten our sense of loss. We bought a stocking for Sophie and I knew I wanted to do something more than just let it hang there, but didn’t quite know what to do with it for Christmas. And then last week, the Lord brought to my mind this idea of a “treasure stocking” and my heart began, for the first time, to get truly excited for Christmas. I wanted some way to bring Sophie into our celebration not just in memory of, but to truly have her life impact our families life this Christmas season and for Christmas’s to come. She has a place in our family and though not physically here, the Lord is giving me a vision for how her little life will continue to be a part of shaping our family for generations to come. So today, I surprised Kevin with the treasure stocking. Sticking out of her stocking was a little treasure box I painted. Inside the box was a note to Sophie. So, this morning we started our Christmas morning, how we will start it from here on out… reading this letter to Sophie and filling her treasure stocking with the best gifts of all…
Today we celebrate Christmas, we’ll watch with excitement as each family member opens their gifts, and we’ll get excited ourselves over the gifts we’ve been given. All of these gifts however, will fade, will break, will get worn out. None of the gifts we give each other this year will last. Yet, we still wish that you were here to shower with gifts that we know won’t last but will make your face light up with glee if but for a moment. Sophie, you remind us that Christmas isn’t about gifts, but about the giver of gifts, Jesus. And you have taught and continue to teach us that the gifts we long for are not here on earth. Jesus says in Matthew 6; “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Your whole life pointed us to our greatest treasure, Jesus. And all the treasures you stored up in your 42 weeks, 2 days and 10 hours of life were treasures that don’t fade. Eternal treasures. So, the one gift that we can give you is to tell of the ways that your life continues to teach us to treasure things that are eternal. For though you are not here, the legacy of your life continues to make an impact on the lives of people for eternity and especially your mommy and daddy’s life. So this is your treasure stocking Sophie and your family will fill it every Christmas with the ways your life is continuing to remind us of where our treasure really is. All the presents we get today will fade away, but one day we’ll get to sit down with you and talk of all these treasures that never faded away.
Merry Christmas to our little girl whose bag continues to fill with heavenly treasures…
we love and miss you so so much!
Love, your mommy & daddy “
We are looking forward to how the Lord will use Sophie’s treasure stocking to remind us and teach Sophie’s future brothers or sisters (or both) where our treasure truly lies. This is a Christmas unlike any we have experienced, one mixed with so much sadness, yet there has and I believe will continue to be rich moments of understanding the true meaning of Christmas in far deeper ways then we have ever known because of the sadness. Truly, Jesus coming to this world to give us life means more to us today than ever before.
We pray that for those who are walking through loss this season you would experience unexpected moments of joy in the midst of the great sadness and find the hope of Christ a sweet place of refuge and rest when no place else will satisfy.