I emailed a Christmas letter to my friends and family and thought I would post it on here as well since these are my thoughts and feelings this Christmas...
To My Dear Friends & Family,
This was our first full year without Aaron with us. This has truly been the most trying and difficult time of my life, but I have gained strength from peace through the knowledge of the gospel. It has been very difficult as we have tried to develop a 'new normal' in our lives. We miss Aaron, but we will forever be grateful for the sweet memories we have to reflect on. We have tried to keep busy to help in the grieving process. We have endured loads of heartache, but we have tried to still have loads of fun for the sake of Aaron Jr.
We are grateful for each one of you and the role you have played in our lives. Each one of you has touched our lives in a special way and we are eternally grateful for your love and support as we continue to navigate our way through this journey that we call life. We are very blessed to know each and every one of you. Thank you for what you are, what you do for us, and for the example you are in our lives.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6
We are grateful for our Savior. As we celebrate His birth and His life, I hope we can try to reflect on the love that He has for EACH and EVERY ONE of us. His atonement has played such a huge role in each of our lives and we are all indebted to Him for the miraculous gift He has given to us. He suffered for our sins and weaknesses... and He truly bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. I have felt Him bearing my griefs and carrying my sorrows this year. I could not have survived without Him. He is my Savior in every sense of the word... as He is the Savior of us all. As long as we Come Unto Him, He will walk with us through whatever challenges we may be facing that tend to bring us down. What treasured promises He has made to us. I love Him and I am truly grateful for Him.
I am also grateful for Aaron Jr. He has been a hero to me this year. He is one of my greatest reasons for even getting up each day. He keeps me laughing and finding joy in each new day because he is a gift from my Father in Heaven.
As we seek to find ways to receive true joy and lasting happiness in this life, may the Lord bless us all. MERRY CHRISTMAS our dear and true friends.
We love you all very much...
Love always, Leslie * Aaron Jr.
COME UNTO HIM
As Christmas morning approaches just a few hours away, I am sitting here watching Aaron Jr. sleep. All month, it hasn't felt like Christmas... without a complete family here to enjoy it together, it is difficult to feel the excitement of the season. BUT, when I think about the reason we celebrate Christmas, I feel such gratitude for this day that we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior.
It is so interesting to me that we give gifts to each other in celebration of the birth of Jesus. When we celebrate our own birthdays, we are the ones to receive the gifts FROM others. A couple of years ago, Christmas 2006, I wanted to start a tradition in our own little family where we would GIVE gifts to the Savior for His birthday. So what we wanted to do was write down what we wanted to give the Savior for HIS birthday. So, I got out paper and envelopes and Aaron and I each wrote down what we wanted to work on in our own lives to better ourselves as a gift to the Savior for that year. After we wrote them, we sealed them, then we were going to open them on Christmas 2007 to see if we accomplished our gifts to the Savior. Well, as you all know, Aaron passed away a little less than a month before Christmas in 2007, so we didn't get to spend Christmas together. Our lives were turned upside down and we didn't get the chance to open our gifts to the Savior that year... or write new ones. It was all forgotten as we were sent into this storm in our lives.
Well, a few weeks ago, it hit me... and I remembered our new tradition that we only got to do one time together. I remembered the box that we had put our letters in to wait for the next Christmas to come. As I sat there trying to remember where it might be, I got out of bed and immediately went to rummage through our things to find that box. When I found it, I took it upstairs and took a photo of it. My camera was acting up, so these are blurry, but this is the gift box with our letters to the Savior...
And here are our letters. Again... super blurry.
Merry Christmas 2006
For the Savior
I then opened them both up and read our letters to Jesus. I am not going to say what was in them because they are personal, but it definitely was so neat to read them both. It was so great to read something of Aaron's that I had never read before... in his handwriting. It meant so much to me and I am grateful that we started that tradition on his last Christmas was us.
As I write my letter to the Savior this year, I will remember our letters from two years ago and be grateful. I want my letter to the Savior this year to be one of hope and one of gratitude. A letter that shows Him my love and devotion. And a letter that shows Him that I want to be better.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33
What a blessed day Christmas is. My hope is that all of us can reflect on the TRUE meaning of this day not only today, but throughout the whole year... to remember what the life of Christ means in our own lives and what His atoning sacrifice will mean in the eternities to come. I love Him and I am grateful for Him.
Merry Christmas to all...
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