December 23, 2009

Christmas Memories

Christina at Luvin This Life has tagged me in a Christmas memory post. Those who rise to the challenge are to post their favorite Christmas memory, link to this post and tag five other bloggers. I will tag Heidi, Carol, Sande, Amy and Heather Kay. If you have a favorite memory you would like to share by all means jump right in!

This was so hard for me because I have so many wonderful Christmas memories that I would like to share.

My husband and I married on December 20th. The company he worked for at the time shut down for the holidays so that first Christmas as husband and wife was really neat.

We bought our first home on December 17, 2001. That Christmas was really special.

Elisabeth was born on December 13th. The first Christmas with her was full of memories.

To settle on just one is not a small task. No, indeed. It has been a few weeks since I received this tag and I have at last run out of time to consider which I will post. There is just one blogging day left until Christmas! So here it is.

My favorite Christmas, at least for the current blog world record, is the Christmas of 2002. This Christmas was filled with the quintessential Christmas details and a miracle in answer to prayer that I will cling to for the rest of my earthly life. I love to tell this story and it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart each time I do.

A little background is important for you understand what I am going to share. Our oldest son, Nathaniel, was born on January 9th of 2002. He was a sweet child and quickly became a chubby little fellow. In July of that year, I found out I was expecting our second son. As I usually do, I became extremely ill for the next five months. That, combined with nursing Nathaniel left me quite exhausted and weak. To make matters worse, our family was in the middle of a legal battle that had spanned many years and taken a financial and emotional toll that I can not even begin to explain. I truly felt that there was not one ounce of anything left in me emotionally or physically.

On a business trip to the Boston area, that same July, our sweet happy boy suddenly became unusually fussy. We attributed it to the travel, spending an entire day in the car, sleeping in a strange crib and just being out of his usual element. Allen and I figured that he would be fine once we got home and he got back on his schedule and in his own bed. But it didn't work out that way. The week of crying day and night stretched into two weeks. He started refusing to nurse and quickly lost weight.

Being our fourth child, we weren't quick to take the kids to the doctor, so when we showed up with our son for a sick visit our pediatrician was initially concerned. He ordered some tests and made some suggestions. The first tests results came back alright and our doctor reassured us that it was nothing to worry about. By now nearly a month had passed and we were exhausted from long nights of trying to calm a screaming baby. I was frustrated because there was nothing I could do to bring him solace and struggling to tend to the home, keep up with my church duties and care for the other children not to mention my own physical and emotional infirmities. Day after day, I paced the floor with my inconsolable baby and at night I would bury my head under the pillow and cry and pray while I listened to Allen pacing with him.

Nathaniel grew thinner and thinner as we tried every suggestion to get him to gain weight. Nursing was abandoned altogether and he proved to be allergic to formula. We researched and found our own concoction that he wouldn't vomit back up. In the meantime, trips back to the doctor resulted in more tests. Our doctor was quite worried when the fall rolled around and not only was there no improvement but our son had gone down hill much further.

His weight was hovering around 9 pounds at nine months old. He could no longer sit up or crawl. He was not saying any words and cried most of the day and night. He did not eat any food except for the blend that we could get him to take from a bottle. He was tested for some of the most awful things you could ever think that you don't ever want to think of anyone's child having... most especially your own. Our doctors were puzzled when every test came back negative. Yet, there was no improvement in his condition.

That Christmas seemed as if it would be the saddest there ever would be. By then, I couldn't say it aloud, but I was sure our son was not going to live. We carried on with our Christmas traditions as best we could.

I remember Christmas Eve, after another trying day, Nathaniel was asleep in his crib when we sat down to dinner. It was just starting to get dark. From my spot at the dining table I could see out the front window where the red and white Christmas lights lit up the yard. I thought I was imagining it at first, but when I said it aloud, Allen confirmed that it was starting to snow. The flurries surely turned into a wondrous storm. We put our coats on and with all the children (four at the time) we walked around the yard singing Christmas carols. We pulled out the sled and in our dress clothes we went down the hill. I held baby Nathaniel on my lap and Aedan kicked in my tummy. It was splendid in the midst of so much turmoil, to just do something as simple as ride a sled down the hill as our girls squealed with delight at the snow. For that night all our trials were forgotten.

On Christmas morning we woke to a picture found on Christmas cards. The storm had dumped nearly two feet of snow but the morning was clear and sun glistened on everything it touched. It was a magnificent sight. The girls, and my nephew who stayed with us Christmas Eve, were so excited over the snow they didn't even take time to open their gifts before running outdoors. In a matter of minutes we looked out the window to see they had rolled a snowball as tall as my brother.

While we watched the children play, we heard a knock at the door. It was our Pastor and good friend for whom our Nathaniel Louis was named. He joined us in the kitchen watching the children through the window and chatting about the weather, family and plans for Christmas dinner. I can still smell the clementines we were peeling and eating as we gabbed. Somehow, the conversation turned to Than and his peculiar health issues. It had been such a big thing in our world, that we assumed our friend knew the seriousness of the situation.

But, I guess in all that was going on with different things in our life at that time, he did not know all that our son was dealing with. Allen explained in detail what the story was since the summer and answered the many questions for the hundredth time. Then our dear Pastor reminded us that in the Bible people were anointed for healing. We got the olive oil and in my living room right there and then we all bowed and prayed for healing

When I look back, I wonder if I really expected an answer to that prayer. I know for certain, I didn't expect it right away. I could go on a long time here about how little faith I have, but the hour is very late so I will let you fill in the blanks on that topic.

But here is what did happen. That very evening, our son, who had not sat up on his own for months, or played, or done anything besides cry in pain, sat on our living room floor, tore the paper from the box and delighted in playing with the little people farm for a good part of the evening. He then proceeded to drink an entire bottle and sleep through the night.

That was the turning point for our baby. After that day, he only got better and bigger and stronger. This was just two weeks before his first birthday. Although, he remained six months behind his peers in development for a number of years, he started regaining the skills he had lost and by his 15th month, Nathaniel was again a round, happy and content child, as if nothing had ever been wrong.

The doctors could not explain it. We could not understand it. But without a doubt Allen knew, I knew, our children knew, our families knew, our friends knew, our Pastor knew that God had given us the miracle we asked for, even though we didn't believe He would.

And that is why I have to say that was my favorite Christmas memory. What gift could be better than seeing God work in such a wondrous way?

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4 comments :

  1. Oh, that's a wonderful story, Kat. I had no idea. A Christmas miracle for sure! Isn't our Lord wonderful?

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  2. What a wonderful memory! I am glad to read it, we have a similar story with our Eli. God has big plans for our two little men!
    Merry Christmas!

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  3. Wow! A true Christmas miracle! You have many big milestones and events to celebrate in December too!

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  4. All the praise be to our loving and faithful Savior ,Jesus CHrist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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