The Christmas Everything Post! 2015

Even in my hardest Decembers- like the one when we were waiting for Arie or last year's when we celebrated the holidays in the wake of our first failed embryo transfer- Christmas has been an occasion I cherish. As I've lived with infertility it's been the hope and the peace of the holiday that I cherish: the hope that through Jesus all things will one day be made right... and the peace that comes with that faith.

Earlier this month I was listening to a Christmas station on Pandora when a cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah came on. I furrowed my brow and wondered how this song was considered holiday music, but I didn't click the thumbs down icon because, well, it's Hallelujah, right? This version included a final verse that I'd never heard before (probably spent too much time listening to Jeff Buckley's cover!). When I caught the lyrics it made perfect sense to me why the song would be played at Christmas:

"And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!"

That's the promise of Christmas I've clung to in my hardest Decembers: that even though it so often goes terribly wrong in this life I will someday stand radiant before my God with nothing left to say but simply: hallelujah!

This Christmas, however, it's not going all wrong for me. It's going all right! For the first time in a while I've approached the season not just claiming the peace and the hope of the season, but the joy. For years I've dreamed of sitting by the lights of our Christmas tree with a baby in my arms or my body and this year that dream is- almost unbelievably- a reality. This year I carried two babies with me to the Christmas farm as we picked out our tree. I hung their ornaments on the boughs of it's branches. I felt them kick and flip inside as I watched Arie and John open gifts beside it's lights. I willed them to move into more comfortable positions as I over ate at dinner and as I constantly needed to stop for a bathroom break on our 6 hour journey to my parents' in Ontario. I showed them off to my mom and sisters in the form of a quickly growing bump and enjoyed many celebratory belly rubs from Aunts and cousins at our Christmas party. What happiness.

I've shared before about the trepidation I sometimes feel bringing two lives into a world often filled with such tragedies as bitterness and war. This Christmas I felt the joy of the opposite: the blessed assurance that I am bringing these children into a world that God is redeeming. A world over which he rules. A world he is calling to himself with endless love, love beyond our wildest imaginations. Yes this can be a hard and scary place to be, this world, but it is the place God has given us and it is good to bring new lives here.

Some pictures of our joyous celebrations this Christmas:

The bottom third of lights on our fake Christmas tree stopped working last year so we took the opportunity to try a real one this season. I don't have the best record with houseplants so I was a little nervous about whether the needles would stay on the tree through December 25, but it was a smashing success! Today is December 31 and it still looks fantastic. I think we are officially Real Christmas Tree People now.

I always had a real tree growing up and hunting for that perfect pine with my family are some of my favorite childhood memories! A gift I'm thrilled to pass on to my son!

Decorating the tree was peaceful this year. We munched popcorn and sipped hot chocolate with Christmas carols playing in the background. Arie is old enough to hang even fragile ornaments without fear of breakage. We examined all the "special ones" and told their stories. "This one if from when Mama and Papa went on their honeymoon!" "Here's one from your first Christmas with us, buddy." etc.

Next year with two infants possibly crawling around decorating the tree will be a whole different story, but a beauty of it's own kind!

Since John is a pastor, Christmas morning is a busy one for our family. We opt to open our gifts together on Christmas Eve morning, which gives us both a special day together as a family as well as a special day to devote to worshiping our newborn King! Here is Arie's face on Christmas Eve morning, anticipating his gifts:
I didn't even have time to focus! Clearly I was excited as well! ;-)
A Snoopy!
Whispering what the gifts were. He couldn't hold in the secret any longer!
Homemade gift: picture of a submarine.
After church on Christmas Day we opened gifts with John's mom and sister. Arie received a huge cardboard pirate ship which combines his love of coloring with his love of pirates. It was a hit!

Note: Snoopy along for the ride! :-)

The following day we traveled to Ontario to celebrate with my family. My niece Lux was born last April and will be almost exactly a year older than our twins, who are due in May. We loved spending time with her not only because she is adorable and an extremely happy baby but also because she gave us a little window into what our Christmas will look like next year... times two!

Almost all the rest of the pictures on my camera were of Lux and Arie. Ha! I was able to pull out photos of all our family members, but the ratio made me laugh. I bet there were 10 kid pictures to every one adult. They are way cuter than us so I guess that's probably fair.

I love this next picture of my sister Jenna's husband holding his niece. The first time I met Justin it was at a Christmas a few years ago; I will never forget the feeling I had when I saw the way he watched my sister opening his gift. He looked at her with such tenderness and affection. The way he cares for his niece and nephew make me so happy; he will be an awesome father someday!

My brother and sister-in-law are so cute with their daughter. She is one of those babies whose default position is happy. She laughs easily and wants to explore everything! She is a good baby for my brother because, as my mom says, "she loves to be pestered!" She loves it when her dad pokes her nose or brushes a stuffed toy in her face. She loves being held up high and "dropped" down low or jiggled around. Apparently all those years my little brother spent pestering me actually paid off! I never would have called that one. ;-)

A highlight of Arie's Christmas is always the chocolate letter he (and we all) receive from my dad! Arie's first Christmas he was home with us just one month and we were struggling to get enough calories in him each day. He would only eat cheese, bananas, and milk. I let him eat almost the whole letter that year because I was so happy he was eating something. Ha! This year I told him only one bite, so he made it a good one:


We had a wonderful time together as a family. Every year I feel so blessed by these people and grateful that we all get along. I know not everyone has that happiness. When I watch my parents enjoying their three kids, in-laws, and two (soon to be four!) grandchildren, I can only pray that John and I  will enjoy the same with our children in 20 or 30 years.

I pray your Christmas was also filled with joy and if not joy this year, then the peace and hope we have in Christ Jesus.

I'll "see" you in the New Year! xo


  1. Great pictures and stories to go with them! You are blessed beyond words! No bump pic??? 😉

    1. I posted one on instagram with my dad two days ago! ;-)

  2. I have followed your blog from almost the beginning. My heart is overjoyed for you and your family! I sit here with my sleeping 11 month old in my lap with tears running down my face. I can only say one thing "joy, unspeakable joy." It has certainly summed up our family's year and I'm sure you can say the same. Blessings to the Burden family!!

    1. That made me smile! Yes we have great joy! Thanks Summer.

  3. Couldn't make it through the fourth paragraph without tearing up. Christmas is joy for me too, but after loosing our 2nd child at 3mos gestation last Christmas, and finding out we were not pregnant for the ninth month in a row this Christmas, I completely resonate.
    I'm so ridiculously happy for you and your family to be welcoming these two tinies this year. Love following your journey and am so thankful for the way you share it - with thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and honor.
    Also, thanks for reminding me I need to edit my Christmas pics and get them up! :)


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