Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Merry Christmas everyone! So far this Christmas has consisted of much merriment and joy in the Kaufman house, although sadly that is not the case in other parts of our nation and world. On Christmas Eve I could not help but spend a few hours mourning for the families of those who have lost friends and loved ones this Christmas season. And the prayers for those affected by these tragedies will not stop there. During the time I've been home I have watched more NBC 15 news than probably ever before. Between the Sandy Hook tragedy, the blizzard that whited out Wisconsin for a few days, and my parents' nightly viewing of the five and ten o'clock news, let's just say I have been inundated with news, most of which, unfortunately has been extremely sad or tragic. It's so hard to imagine having spent this Christmas day without just one of our beloved family members there, or to have our house catch fire and burn to the ground in the midst of our celebrations. Now I apologize if this hits close to home or you're wondering why I took a dose of "depressing" this morning, but I just can't help but process the sadness just the state of Wisconsin, and the rest of the nation alone, have experienced this Christmas and holiday season. I will hold the recent tragedies in our nation very close to my heart in prayer through the rest of the Christmas season and beyond, and I ask you to join me in the same.

Through the Advent season I decided to read a book titled, Love Does Such Things. A book that has completely flown under the radar, and recommended to me by Jenne, my old teammate and dear friend, completely rocked my world this Christmas. I often see signs and posters with, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season," or "Keep Christ in Christmas," but to be honest, I've never really understood exactly how to do that or what that looks like. Say "Merry Christmas" instead of "happy holidays"? Go to Mass on Christmas Eve? Read the beautiful accounts of our Lord's birth in scripture? That doesn't quite seem like enough. Christmas is much more than the celebration of our Savior's birth in a manger with Joseph and Mary. Oh boy, there's a lot more than that. Our Lord greets us with "Merry Christmas" daily, not just on December 25th. Recently I read two quotes that are constantly adding to the "renewal of my mind" about what Christmas really means. One, by CS Lewis states,
"Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world."
And another by St. Augustine which states,
"He wished to become one of our Children to make us His children."
 (If you're wondering where I found them... I'll admit:  Twitter...Yes, I'm a little embarrassed.)

Mom's cute idea for Christmas this year: matching shirts..kind of.
However, these two quotes are a wonderfully accurate portrayal of the meaning of Christmas: God loves us so much. And when someone is head-over-heels in love with someone, they might do something crazy. For example, God becoming human in the form of a baby! And not only that, but born to a poor peasant girl into utter poverty. In today's world, that is completely nuts! Why would our God do that? And only to have His life end in a horrific, tragic death on the Cross on Good Friday? Well, for no other reason than this:  Love does such things. Love does things completely senseless to our human nature in order to prove itself; and when that Love is perfect, unending and from GOD himself, could we really expect anything less?

So anyway, I've experienced a deep renewal of my mind this Christmas in what it means to open up room in my heart for the Savior to be born anew, and I pray for the grace to be able to remember this in my daily life!

Pretty hard to not fall in love with this little guy...
Speaking of my daily life, that's something I could probably tell you a little bit about. Over the break I was greatly looking forward to calling all of my mission partners and wishing them (ahem, YOU!) all a Merry Christmas! and meeting with some, and I of course had the intentions to bake them cookies and deliver them right to their doorsteps. Unfortunately a nice white-out blizzard this past week topped with a cold that took every gust of wind out of my sails used up every last resource I had to even make a simple phone call. The past week I've spent resting, sleeping, and not doing much of anything. My body finally realized that I had some time off so decided to play catch up and give me a cold while I have time to rest and not be around people 24/7 like I am in NoDak. Certainly not the worst thing in the world, but man, when dad or I get sick, we get sick and our bodies make sure we can't do anything. It did provide lots of quality time to spend with mom and dad--we played Scrabble, watched Christmas movies and ate soup--but it was a bummer to not be able to do all the other things I had planned over this break.

Cuteness central. Case and point.
I did start feeling better yesterday when mom's whole family came over for our annual tradition of spending Christmas day at the Kaufman house. Having a baby in our family (finally!) is pretty exciting and the holidays have really changed in terms of our activities. We did play our annual game of Catchphrase, which always gets us for a good laugh, but we spent most of the day watching and interacting with the two newest members of our family: baby Audrey and Rusty (our family's new puppy). Watching the two of them interact was pretty precious and by the end of the day Audrey was showing that little pup who's boss. Pretty. Stinkin'. Cute.

Today is my last full day here and tomorrow I'm already heading out to go back up to the hinterland! SO (shout out) to Tim Olson and Maria Sauvageau who are getting married on Friday! I'll be there in time for the wedding and will be getting ready to pack up and get on a bus for 36 hours down to Orlando for the Seek conference that starts on January 2nd. In case you're wondering, yes I will miss the Rose Bowl game, but now that I have twitter I guess I'll just be stalking the tweets with hopeful updates of a play-by-play while I'm on the bus.

Gosh Kev just loves taking pictures with me.
I'm looking forward to another semester of missionary life at NDSU and am so thankful for such a great placement for me! I've loved being there the past year and a half and it's crazy to think that year two of missionary life is halfway over! I still have no idea what I'm doing after this year, but promise to keep you updated as I discover more.

Also, in case any of you are wondering (more like haven't noticed yet), I did deactivate my Facebook account for now. To spare the long-winded explanation of the thought process and yes, even prayer that I put into making this decision, let's just say I'm going to try to do a little prioritizing of my time and spend more time doing the things that I actually love (reading, spending time with people, scrapbooking, etc) than spending so much time on such an addicting social network. For now I will keep twitter, if you'd like to follow me there: kelseymarie1989, this blog (which may see more frequent posts seeing as I'll have more time...) and of course my email and phone, if ever you'd like to get in touch with me.

Feeling the love. Thanks, brother.
Today mom, dad, Kevin and I are celebrating Kevin and I's birthdays (January 23 and 20, respectively) by finally going to see The Hobbit! I'M SO EXCITED I CAN HARDLY CONTAIN MYSELF! I'll admit, I'm a little confused as to how they made such a short book into three long, feature films, but I guess we'll see!

Please pray for my safe travels tomorrow (Thursday) and may there rest of the Christmas season be very joy-filled for each of you.

God bless!
Kelsey Marie

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