Friday, May 27, 2016

The Rules of Love

Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed by the pull of secular culture.  From the right, we are told that material wealth will bring freedom.  From the left we are told that sex with whomever, whenever, for whatever reason or no reason at all will set us free.  The world is trying so hard to redefine reality that it has been blinded to the most obvious of truths.

I have always clung to the church to guide me, especially in times of stormy waters.  That her rules are given out of love to set us free is one of my deepest held beliefs.  And not just in the next world, but in this one as well.

Following is a transcript of a talk I gave at our middle school retreat.  I was shocked at the reception and positive feedback I received from the kids.  It was something I really wanted to say, and I guess it was something they needed to hear.  


Today I would like to talk to you about rules.  We all hate rules, right?

The church, the school, our parents, the man (whoever he is) make rules to hold us down.

Our TV shows, movies, books, songs, even ads tell us that rule followers are boring, rule makers are mean and rule breakers are cool.  Rebels are free because they don’t follow the rules!

Right?  Right?  I’m not so sure.

I think rules may get a bad rap.  I think that our books our movies our songs may have it all wrong.  I think there may be a big misunderstanding about rules, and that the rebel isn’t free, but an unwitting fool.  I am thinking that if together we look at what rules REALLY are and what rules are NOT, you might find that you agree with me.

Let’s examine rules a little bit more closely. Let’s take one of the first rules we all learned.

Don’t put your finger in a light socket!

Now my first question:  Is it your parent’s rule that makes the light socket dangerous? 

No, it is not your parents' rule.  Your parents' rule simply correspond to Reality.  It is a rule based on a law that exists whether there is a rule or not,  let’s call it the 'law of electricity':  The body is an excellent conductor of electricity because it is filled with water.  Electricity will find the easiest way to ground, right through you.  Electrical outlets house electricity.   

There are laws in the universe.  Rules that correspond to these laws are there to protect us.  They are given, in this case by your parents, out of love.  Electricity will do what electricity does!  The rule warns us of reality.  It does not create it.  It illuminates what already exists in the world.

But rules do even more than that.  They make us more free!  Now wait a minute!  If I am not free to stick my finger in the light socket, I am less free, am I not? 

But a toddler that knows the rule about light sockets and can be trusted to follow the rule can be left alone to play, to explore, to move around on his own.
The child who does not know the rule or cannot be trusted to follow it must be confined or hovered over for his own protection.  Which of those children is more free?

So already we know that rules do not make things bad, they illuminate or warn us about a truth that exist in reality whether we know the rule or not.  They are given out of love and they make us more free.

With that in mind, I would like to look at the 10 commandments.

There are many unseen laws of the universe:  Flowers grow toward the sun, the moon circles the earth, what goes up must come down.  The unseen law of the universe upon which the 10 Commandments are based is called THE MORAL LAW.  Theft, lies, murder did not become wrong when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, just as the Law of Gravity existed before Newton “discovered it.”  And like the Law of Gravity, The Moral Law has consequences whether or not we know the law, whether or not we believe in it.  Because of The Law of Gravity, if I walk out of a second story window, I will hit the ground.  It doesn’t matter what I believe.  My body is governed by the Law of Gravity and trying to defy that law gets me hurt. As our bodies are governed by the laws of nature, our spirit is governed by the Moral Law.  If we try and defy it, we get hurt, we hurt others.  But when we live in accord with Moral Law, we are more human, more truly free.

And so, I want to examine the 10 Commandments to see if we can learn more about what it means to be human, what it means to be free.

The first three commandments are first for a reason.  They are first because they tell us the reality upon which all other realities are based.  They tell us that GOD is GOD and I am not.  I am your God, Honor my Name, Honor my Day.  These do not tell us about God, they tell us about us.  It is not God who needs Honor and Praise, no it is us who need to honor and praise God.  Why?  Because to live in a world where I do not know that God is God and I am not, is a dangerous world.  To live in a world where I am God or God is NOT is world where no one is free.

But more importantly, the first three commandments tell me something fundamental about what it means to be human.   They tell me my purpose:  I was created out of love to be with God.  To be human IS to be in relationship.

The rest of the commandments tell us something equally fundamental about being human, I am called to be in relationship, not just with God, but with others.  This did not come to be true when Moses walked down the mountain.  No, it was true from the foundation of the world.  I bet it didn’t take early man long to figure out that a man alone is a dead man.  But together we can survive and then expand and then prosper to build communities, societies, civilizations.  To be human IS to be in relationship with others. 

Man is social and the first and primary unit of all societies is the family.  And so,

The fourth commandment is in a sense the bridge between those commandments that help us to be in relationship with God and those that help us to be in relationship with the rest of man-kind. 

The 4th commandment.  What truth does it illuminate about reality?  WE NEED A FAMILY.  Again, this did not become true, Bam! with the stone tablets.  It was true always.   The animals probably looked with pity at early man and thought, “Darn, those cubs never grow up.”  99% of what the rest of the animal kingdom needs to know to survive, they know by instinct.  But not man, he must be taught.  A dog doesn’t need to be taught to be a dog, a lion doesn’t need to be taught to be a lion.  But 99% of what man needs to know to be man, to be in relationship with God, to be in relationship with others, to survive, he needs to be taught.  That man needs a family is built into the universe.  The commandment just told us how we could make family work the best.  How family can make us more free.  When we hear it, Honor your father and mother, we might think, "Boy, the kids got the short end of the stick in this one."  But, not so.

Obedience always assumes a legitimate authority.  In the military, soldiers obey their commanders, they do not obey the commanders on the other side.  We obey the 10 Commandments because they were given by God out of love.  Children are required to obey their parents because parents are required to love their children.  To love means to put your welfare above my own.  It means to sacrifice my own self-interest for your good.  And if children obey and parents love, our families correspond to the Moral Law, and we are more free.  Think about it.  A child who has no one to obey is a frightened child.  But when there are rules to obey, children are more free to grow, live, laugh and learn without having to worry about all the dangers in the world. 

 The rest of the commandments can be broken down into basically three categories:  Property, sexual relations and speech.  Wait a minute, you are forgetting the 5th, what about thou shall not kill?

I will not insult your intelligence by elaborating on the obvious.   A society where there are no rules about killing is a dangerous society.  It is a society that is not free.  Not much else to say.

The 7th and 10th commandments deal with property:  You shall not steal, you shall not covet your neighbors’ goods.  Now remember, the 10 Commandments illuminate the Moral Law and the Moral Law helps us to be more human, more free.  So why does Moral Law assume a right to property?  I don’t think it is because the universe cares about your tv, my necklace, his ox and cart.  I think it is because to share is essential to relationship.  To be in relationship with God and with others means to SHARE.  And guess what, I can’t share if I don’t own.   Maybe in a perfect world, but we do not live in a perfect world.
As a parent, it is one of the hardest virtues to teach a young child.  If I have a cookie and tell you to share it with your brother, you are not really sharing because it is my cookie.  But if the cookie is yours and I take ½ and give it to your brother, you have not shared. But if I give you the cookie as your own, and I leave it up to you to choose, there are no guarantees.   You may choose wrongly.  You may choose the cookie over your brother.  And life isn’t about cookies, it is about brothers.  All the cookies in the world are not equal to one brother.  Freedom is not having choices, though choice is a necessary element of freedom.   Freedom comes from choosing wisely.

To steal robs us not just of our goods but of the opportunity to share.  And to share is to be in relationship, and that makes us more fully human, more free.

The 6th and the 9th commandments tell us about human sexual relationships.  Like Electricity, sex is wonderful, powerful and therefore can be dangerous.  There are many, many rules that govern it.  I think some people believe all the church's moral laws are just about sex.  That is not true, but we do need more rules to swim in the ocean than to swim in a pond.  We could examine each of the church’s teachings and see what they illuminate about reality and how they protect us and make us free, but we would need another whole period for that.  Let it suffice to say that the reality that all the laws illuminate is that Sex is for Marriage.  Why?  Because  human sexual relationships produce what?…a human, thank you Capt. Obvious.  But all animals mate, dogs, cats, lamas.  But because our relationships produce a human, ahh, now that is why it is so wonderful and powerful.  Because man is more precious than anything else in the entire universe, he is created in the image and likeness of God, he is one of a kind.  Have you heard…Modern sceicne can now detect a spark at the moment of human conception.  Doesn’t surprise me one bit.  The human is a miracle and deserves much.
Remember back to the 4th commandment:  We need a family.  If you examine any rule of the church regarding sexual morality, you will find that it protects in some way the family and each of its memebers:  mother, father, children.  And when we follow the rules that govern sexual relationships, we are safer, we are more free.

The 2nd and 8th commandments deal with speech.  Don’t take the name of the Lord in Vain, thou shall not lie.  Speech.  Speech is so uniquely human.  We are the only creatures in the universe with speech.  Certainly not the only ones who communicate, but the only ones with words.  And from the very beginning, man used those words not just to communicate needs:  give me some milk, hand me that wood, help!  No, we told stories about the stars, recorded our history, I bet in caves all across the world, mothers had words to say, I love you my child.  Now GO TO SLEEP!  Speech is how we build relationship, with God and with one another.  It is an essential part of being human.

My very favorite part of the whole bible is the beginning of John:  In the Beginning was the Word.  And the Word was with God.  And the Word was God... And The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Jesus is God’s words!  Jesus is God's WORDS! All that God wanted to say to us, all the warnings, all the love letters, everything! He says in the person of Jesus.  And what is God?  John tells us that just as beautifully:  God is love.

So what did Jesus tell us about the 10 Commandments?  We call it the Summary of the Law.  Love God, Love neighbor, love yourself.

Did this mean, "Hooray now we can lie, cheat, steal, disobey?"  Of course not!  Love is the HOW and the WHY!  Love doesn't change the rules.

If I love you, I don’t want to lie to you or about you.  I don’t want to commit adultery, I don’t want you dead.  If I love, the law is made easier to follow. 

If I do not steal all my neighbor’s lawn art, that is an act of love.  If I don’t gossip about people I don’t really like that much, that is an act of love. 

I love God and my neighbor by following the rules and I follow the rules because I love God and my neighbor.  Love doesn't change the rules, love is following the rules.  Following the rules IS love.

Jesus is the key.  It is through the person of Jesus that we are taught how to be fully human, how to be most perfectly in relationship with God and with others, so that we may be most free.

And the cross is the perfect icon to remind us of this.  His cross points up to heaven, to our heavenly father, and His arms stretch out across all space and time to embrace each of us.

You have spent this retreat meditating on what it means to be in relationship, with Jesus, with others.  Remember:  Rules are an essential part of every relationship.  They are not there to hold us down, but to set us free.  They help us to be most fully human. 
Remember when Satan told Adam and Eve to break the rules.  He told them that if they disobey, they would be like God.  He only lied about the disobey part.  Man can be like God.  What? Yep, remember, God is love.  When we love, we are godlike.  And to love is to follow those commandments and to follow those commandments, that too is love.

And so, I close today with a challenge for each of you moving forward.  Give rules the benefit of the doubt.  Remember that rules are given out of love, to protect us, to make us free.  That rules, when they correspond to the 10 Commandments, illuminate reality, illuminate the Moral Law.  And that the Moral Law, every single solitary letter, is about being in relationship with God and with others.  And this truth will set us free.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mary's Easter


The feast of Mary Magdeline is on my parent's wedding anniversary.  I don't know if I ever knew that before this week.  I also don't remember loving her story so very much.  So much it made me write something worth sharing after over a year.  So here it goes:

I walk with slow but steady tread
The rising sun’s pink and yellow stains the path
Precious oils held in unshaking hands

There is no grief in my weary soul
Numbness is my companion now
A reprieve from days of agony

I round the bend toward the stone
Then I am running as if chased by demons to reach the mouth
Silence and emptiness flow out as mist on the sea

My heart wound splits anew
Broken and cracked like the giant stone laying near the path
Pepples cut my knees as I
I fall to the ground...

The hour of three turns
His head slumps to his chest
His ematiated body hangs limp and lifeless 
I can not breathe

Soldiers scurry through the storm that has just blown in
The earth moves beneath their feet
A sword pierces his flesh, his precious flesh
I have never felt such pain

Relief that his suffering has ended 
Should balm my heart but
The silent tears on young John’s face
Sear my soul

His mother falters and I reach for her
I hear a splitting sound
Which is her heart.  Or is it mine
Or is it something far away in the temple

No heart can hold this much grief
Hers, mine, the world’s
I wish for death
But the body must be prepared...

I rise turning this way and that
What could they be doing to him
Have they not done enough to us

My mind is a frenzy of bees and blood 
I see a man in white, a simple gardener
There is no malice in his strong face

Where have you taken him
Please do you know where they have taken him
Tell me and I will go

Grief is dulled by rising panic
I cling to him praying that he has seen
And can help me find my Lord

“Mary.”

Peace rushes like the waves of flood
Joy overflows like a rain swollen river
My heart soars higher than the mountain of our ancestors

“Teacher”.  It is not a question
For my heart can not decieve me in this
My broken heart is new, pumping hope through my veins

And into the world
As I run like the winds of the desert to tell Peter
What I know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I need advice



My going into 7th grader has a summer reading assignment.  It is a 10 part project that will take a month, so we will be spending a lot of time with the book.  Problem:  He doesn't want to read it.  Disclaimer:  He will read ANYTHING, almost.

The book is Mississippi Trial, 1955 by Crowe.  The book jacket told him it was about a vicious murder of a black teen.  He hates books about death, especially violent death (Hunger Games included).  So, I read the book.  It is one of those books that leave you feeling icky.  They include portions from the real trial which include the fact that the young boy has his genitals removed during his murder.  I did not find it particularly well written.  I didn't really like any of the characters.  I certainly don't want to spend a month on it and I am not sure I should make him.

I think racism and civil rights appropriate subject matter for 7th grade, but to begin the discussion with something so heavy seems almost too much.  The book doesn't leave you with a clear sense of anything.  The injustice is glaring but how one meets such injustice isn't really to be found except "do the right thing even if it is hard."  But my guy will see that doing the right thing in MS 1955 didn't help anyone, most especially the dead black kid.  He will only remember the cruelty.  And he will have to spend a month in Mississippi 1955, a place none of us would want to be for long.  Not sure that is a good thing.

We have read hard stuff.  MacBeth has some violence, Harry Potter has some death of characters you love.  But this seems different.  Racism has no easily explained reason, like you want to be king.  And the solutions to our country's racism are still being figured out today.  It is not an easy subject and having visual images of the cruelty may make it harder to discuss for one who inherently finds it evil.  I don't have to convince him racism is wrong.  He knows it.  What he doesn't yet have, and what I don't know if I want him to have is a visual of just how damn cruel human beings can be.

So...
Do I just skip it?
Write the teacher and ask to use a different book with no explanations?
Call her to discuss my concerns?
What would you do?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Relationships

The older I become, the more clear it is, that all of human life is about relationship. A life well lived is one in which the circle of relationship grows. The perfect life expands to encompass the entire of humanity. A poor life is one which is isolated and where the primary relationship one has is with himself.


Our life is a series of relationships. Some are more equal than others, but each is a giving and a receiving of our very selves.


This begins at the moment of conception. Even before our consciousness is awakened, we are in a beautiful and symbiotic relationship with our mother. On her part, the mother provides all the physical needs of her tiny infant. On his part, the child gives the gift of complete dependency. Lest you think this too inequitable to be termed relationship, think of the unborn Christ Child. Yes, He would go on to give the gift of Life to the whole world, the balance of giving and receiving so shifted as to become the most inequitable in all of human history, but His first gift was His complete dependency on His mother. Love requires of us dependency. One can not be in loving relationship without being both needed and dependent. This does not denigrate relationship, it defines it.


As we grow, our initial relationships are with our parents, siblings, extended family, close friends and neighbors. It is in the family that we learn what love is. We learn there is a time for obedience and a time for moral courage. All relationship is a balance between action and inaction: When do we speak, when do we listen; when do we lead and when do we follow.


Sometimes the nature of the relationship determines our responsibility: A child obeys his parents while a parent leads his child. This does not mean a child does not teach his parent, any who have children know of this certainty. But the child does not lead, to expect him to is negligence. It is most often through his following that we, the parent, learn our greatest lessons: both of our imperfect leading and how we fall short in those relationships in which we are required to follow.


The most equitable relationship of man is the spousal relationship. This does not mean "best" or "purest" or "most desirable." It simply means that it is the most equal in both the giving and the receiving. It is the only relationship which requires a total giving of self by BOTH parties. In no other human relationship do we give completely of ourselves with the just expectation that we receive another self in return. It is a foolish parent who expects that kind of return from a child. It is a foolish maiden that expects that kind of return from a string of beaus. It is a foolish employee that expects that kind of return from an employer.


But it is a foolish bride who does not expect it from her groom.

And a justly disappointed groom who does not receive it from his bride.


There is no leader or follower in this relationship. It is a union so profound as to be more horizontal than vertical. To be sure, in practice, we take turns pulling each other up the cliff toward heaven, but a better image of the relationship is two bodies, hand in hand, walking up the incline at a slow and steady pace.


Each spouse is completely dependent on the other while living the opposite. We work as if his happiness is in our hands, knowing that our own is his for the giving. It is a moving circle like a tornado. And like the tornado, it is both small and large, always centered, created by cold and warm, touching heaven and earth and changing everything it touches, pulling all it passes into its embrace.


(And for the cynical who only see in my analogy the destruction left in its wake, ask yourself if you want the passion of a tornado or a gentle rain shower to describe the mark your marriage left on the world? There is a time for rain, but there is a time for tornados as well. Rain may pass unnoticed; tornadoes rarely do.)


It is for this reason that the relationship between Christ and His church is compared to that of man and wife. The Church needs Christ, this I do not have to explain. But Christ also needs the church in order to complete the plan of His Father. We can not do it alone, but God has required of Himself that He can not do it without us.


Take a minute to let that sink in. Take a minute to dwell in the presence of that kind of love. A tiny human is by nature dependent, it is in his nature to give the gift of dependency, just as it is in the nature of woman to nurish her child. Almighty God is by nature completely independent. He needs nothing. His Trinitarian Nature is Perfect and Eternal relationship. Yet, He condescends to need us in order to allow us to be in relationship with Him.


All of life is aimed at learning this one lesson. All of life is aimed at learning how to be in relationship. Whether it is with our mother, a friend, a dog or a tree, relationship requires we learn how to give and receive. Both aspects require that we learn to shed our selfishness. Yes, even learning how to receive requires self denial. For in each of our relationships, we are giving and receiving something. And for everything we receive, we must give something up. But more importantly, we must do something. In marriage, to be loved, we must love. In parenting, to learn we must teach. In friendship, to be heard we must listen.


So when you think of relationship, of love, do you focus on what you give or what you get?


Do you see all relationship as inherently selfish, for you can only see what you get?


Do you see it as inherently selfless for you can only see what you give?


Or do you see a tornado where the lines are so blurred all you can see is the moving circle that changes everything? Destruction of all the man made structures? Uprooted trees? Perhaps.


Or in its wake, can we see more clearly where earth and heaven meet?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Going Deep

I am reading a book called Last Child in the Woods. The author's premise is that recent generations' distance from nature is having detrimental effects on everything from attention to creativity. He terms the problem Nature Deficit Disorder. With our technological and smaller world, many have access to untold information about nature and have travelled across the globe, but, he argues, our grandparents who never left their small towns, while having no idea about the rain forest, knew their own woods and prairies intimately. Today's children may know much about Global ecology and endangered animals, but they do not know nature. Parent's fears and modern day distractions deprive children of just getting out in nature in unstructured ways. Whether it was a patch of park in New York City or a tree in the suburbs or a creek in a small town, past generations had opportunities to unite with nature in free, unstructured ways.

I feel his premise is just another aspect of the idea that has been forming in my head for awhile. Our children have too many distractions. There are things which are objectively better than others, and given the opportunity, children recognize these things. They know that visiting a nursing home is better than going to the swimming pool. Playing a game of capture the flag is better than Special Ops X box. Making up an imaginary world for one's action figures beats watching a movie. They will not choose the better portion, at least not most kids, but after the fact, if asked, they recognize it.

Being out doors is certainly the perfect setting for eliminating distractions. There is so much to contemplate out doors that is worthy of our time. However, I think there is also much to contemplate indoors. We simply do not allow our children the time to just go deep.

Whether it is sitting with a book that is not so simple that it requires no thought, in order to think about what the heck the author is trying to say... Or looking at a beautiful painting and imagining what the artist was thinking while he painted it... Or listening to beautiful music and being in awe of the genius of, say, a Mozart... Or climbing a tree and imaging one's self in a pagoda in China...Or looking for a secret door in the honey suckle...Or listening to the repetitive chirp of a bird and trying to figure out the code.

And to hear that chirp and realize that the bird sees the cat and is sending out the warning signal to his fellow birds is better than any High Score. Recognizing a song and knowing it is Mozart is better than any rerun of Phinias and Ferb. Knowing you are right that the artist was listening to a thunder storm as he painted or imaging that you found the secret door or that you are in China is the stuff that childhood should be made of.

Every generation looks at the current one and longs for the "good old days." I don't think there is such a thing. Every generation had problems and every generation had gifts. I have no desire to go back to an age of card catalogues and paying for long distance. I think my parents had to make the same choices I have to make: How to provide the opportunity for our children to experience the pure joy of childhood. They had different obstacles to overcome than we. But it comes down to deciding if that is what you want.

Like Last Child in the Woods, there are numerous books out there telling us what the problem is. I think the solution is simply to remove the distractions. Give your kids the opportunity to go deep in to something, anything, rather than skate along the surface.

*So far, Last Child in the Woods is a great book worth reading.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Letters

For anyone who is interested. Following are my Christmas Letters.


Edward,


God gives us many gifts all through our lives. It seems the greatest ones are often the those we forget. Christ was the greatest gift to the world. I hope This Christmas, one gift I give to you, is the chance to remember that and feel the great peace and joy that settled over the whole earth the night when He was born.


One of the greatest gifts that God gave me was your father. And with him, God gave me you. I loved you before I saw your cute face or heard your contagious laugh. But with each passing day, I love new things about you.


I love your excitement about and love of learning.


I love that you laugh so easily.


I love that when I explain something to you, you listen and you understand.


I love that you are easy going.


I love that you are not materialistic.


I love that you care about my opinion.


I love the unique way your mind works.


I love the stories you write or hope to write.


I love, that while you are so smart and things come so easily to you, you are humble and kind.


But if all those things suddenly vanished, I would still and will always love YOU!


Merry Christmas,

MOM



Henry,


God gives us many gifts all through our lives. It seems the greatest ones are often the those we forget. Christ was the greatest gift to the world. I hope This Christmas, one gift I give to you, is the chance to remember that and feel the great peace and joy that settled over the whole earth the night when He was born.


One of the greatest gifts God gave me was your father. And with him, God gave me you. I loved you before you sprang into the world so quickly they had to grab a doctor heading to her car to deliver you. Before you could smile that heartwarming smile, I loved you. But with each passing day, I love new things about you.



I love your imagination.


I love that you feel responsible for the small creatures in the world.


I love that you like it when I cry over sweet things.


I love that you are always polite.


I love that you know how to make others feel good about themselves.


I love the songs you compose on the piano.


I love that you appreciate the beauty of words.


I love how you remember every story you have ever heard.


I love that you recognize true joy and acknowledge it when you see it.


But if all those things suddenly vanished, I would still and will always love YOU.


Merry Christmas,

MOM


Sarah,


God gives us many gifts all through our lives. It seems the greatest ones are often the those we forget. Christ was the greatest gift to the world. I hope This Christmas, one gift I give to you, is the chance to remember that and feel the great peace and joy that settled over the whole earth the night when He was born.


One of the greatest gifts God gave me was your father. And with Daddy, God gave me you. I loved you before I saw your sweet little face and before I knew you as my first little girl. But with each passing day, I love new things about you.


I love when you sing from way down in your soul.


I love when you write beautiful prayers.


I love that people call you my Mini Me.


I love your sense of style and that you are your own person.


I love that you care about every one of your stuffed animals.


I love the pictures you draw and the cards you make.


I love how you want your daddy to kiss you good night.


I love when you do gymnastics.


I love how loyal you are to those you love.


But if all those things suddenly vanished, I would still and will always love YOU!


Merry Christmas,

MOM




Simon,


God gives us many gifts all through our lives. It seems the greatest ones are often the those we forget. Christ was the greatest gift to the world. I hope This Christmas, one gift I give to you, is the chance to remember that and feel the great peace and joy that settled over the whole earth the night when He was born.


One of the greatest gifts God gave me was your father. And with Daddy, God gave me you. I loved you from the moment I saw your face on the computer. I loved you before I ever heard your voice or held your hand. But with each passing day, I love new things about you.


I love how you can figure out how to put things together.


I love that you are kind to your friends.


I love that you are polite to adults.


I love that you can do a job really well.


I love the boats and planes and toys you make with paper and string.


I love that you now trust me.


I love how quickly you learned to speak English.


I love how you like to wear a tie.


I love how you can see the good in things.


But if all these things suddenly vanished, I would still and will always love YOU!


Merry Christmas,

MOM



Lilly,


God gives us many gifts all through our lives. It seems the greatest ones are often the those we forget. Christ was the greatest gift to the world. I hope This Christmas, one gift I give to you, is the chance to remember that and feel the great peace and joy that settled over the whole earth the night when He was born.


One of the greatest gifts God gave me was your father. Together with daddy, God gave me you. I loved you before I saw your face in a little picture delivered by the UPS man, before I knew which little girl God had chosen for me. But with every passing day, I love new things about you.


I love how you march around with your broom cross.


I love how you love to clean.


I love how you love the mass.


I love how quickly you learn things.


I love how you love basketball.


I love how independent you are.


I love when you giggle.


I love that you love to read.


I love that you practice and practice until you have figured out how to do what you are trying.


But if all these things suddenly vanished, I would still and will always love YOU!


Merry Christmas,

MOM