When Blossom was 10 she gathered what scraps of felt she could find in her little craft cupboard and made a nativity scene to hang beside the Christmas tree.
Neither of us were stitchers at that time, so each December I would cook and she would decorate with whatever she could find.
I treasure this Nativity Scene from her childhood, and even though Mr E and I have been shopping for a porcelain one recently, nothing has compared to the simple felt scene our daughter made all those years ago.
Since her mid-teens Blossom has been embarrassed when I bring it out each year, a natural reaction for most children as they grow up and their parents insist on displaying those junior works of art, but I don't let her protests stop me.
As a young mother herself now she has a greater understanding of why this Nativity scene means so much to me...
Blossom's second baby is due March 1st, but she's had a scare this week when the baby's head dropped overnight and severe lower back pains began. Assessment by her midwives confirmed the baby was now very low, head almost engaged, much earlier than it should be.
She also discovered her health had taken a downward turn and blood transfusions were needed, one on Thursday and another scheduled for next week.
I sounded the alarm in our Gentle Domesticity group and an army of prayer warriors took up the call and held Blossom and her baby in prayer for three days. Bless their hearts!
What could have been a very early delivery has slowed right down, and though she must take things very easy from now on and let that little cherub in her womb keep growing strong for a safe and healthy birth, Blossom is calm and giving all her extra attention to one on one time with Cully May (who is the happiest little munchkin ever!).
I've spent a lot of time with my daughter and granddaughter this week, assisting where I can, praying and just being available if she had need of me, and it made me incredibly proud to watch my daughter conduct herself with such grace and kindness towards all her health professionals even though she was frightened of what may happen with her baby if labour began.
Today we have stayed in our various abodes and texted funny things back and forth - she entertaining Cully May and keeping her feet up, and me nursing a rather ghastly migraine but having Mr E beside me as physician. How very blessed we are to have each other, to be a family, to live nearby and be able to step in to help out in times of duress.
I think this Christmas what's sitting solid in my heart is gratitude.
Gratitude for God in giving us His Son.
Gratitude to God for giving me this daughter, my youngest, the child I almost lost my life giving birth to yet who every day 'gives' more to me in love, respect, honour and friendship than I could ever have imagined when I held that tiny bundle in my arms almost 24 years ago.
I have gratitude for the Word of God which every day speaks into my heart and gives me understanding, correction, hope and direction.
And I am grateful for Christmas, for the quietness and gentleness of this particular Christmas, for even though it's been a week fraught with concerns and hospital visits and a few fears, there has been this underlying sense of God's hand holding us all, securely, lovingly, peacefully.
Mr E put the tree up and I gathered some simple decorations and made merry because my heart was overflowing with LOVE for Jesus, for my family, and for those whom God may bring across my path one day and will want to hear why I love Him so much.
Simple decorations...celebrating a simple but miraculous birth over 2000 years ago.
A birth which changed my life and made it a testimony to love which no author could have dreamed to write.
May the LOVE of Jesus fill your heart this Christmas in ways it never has before.
May His birth and the miracle of it fill your thoughts with wonder and awe.
May you find HIM at the centre of every conversation, every laugh, every tear, every dream, and know that it will all be okay even if things don't turn out the way you hoped because He loves you and He cares about your whole life, from the big issues to the little ones and everything in between.
From our family to yours,
MERRY & BLESSED CHRISTMAS