Merry Day After Christmas, friends!
I hope each of you, lovely readers, had a Christmas full of peace, joy, and good memories to cherish. Wherever you are today on The Day After – back to work or still relaxing with family – I hope you keep savoring the laughter and the spirit of yesterday even as you march ahead into the final week of 2016.

I must admit, I was apprehensive about this Christmas. This was my hubby’s and my third Christmas together, but our first with just the two of us. We’ve already traveled to visit both of our families earlier this fall. We spent a several hours on Christmas Eve with some good friends, but the rest of the holiday was up to just us.

And that wasn’t bad, really. It was different, from growing up in a home that is very family-centered and all about our holiday traditions. But I was kinda excited to have our first – of probably few – quiet Christmas and begin to explore and develop our own traditions.

The part that made my heart ache was remembering that, if we hadn’t lost our baby last year, we would have a 10-month-old this Christmas. Last holiday season, it was “I would’ve been 7 months pregnant now,” and that was sad, but okay. I had hope and expectation that I’d be expecting again by the next Christmas. But this year, with no baby, and knowing it could have been our first Christmas with a little one – crawling all over the house, pulling at the ornaments on the tree, learning how to open presents – those thoughts badgered my hurting heart in the days leading up to Christmas.

But God….

He is so kind. Because Christmas Day was lovely, and full of blessings, and my heart was light. He fills my life with good things!

Hubby and I got up and had Cinnamon Roll Casserole for breakfast (a twist on my family’s tradition of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning) and sausage and homemade espressos.

church

We went to church, saw some friends we haven’t seen in a while, and I held my friend’s three-month-old baby boy during church. He was adorable, drooly, smelled so sweet, and – rather than invoking sadness – filled up my heart with happiness. Church was small and intimate, since many people were away on Christmas morning. The chairs were in a small semi-circle, the guitars acoustic with no microphones, the brief sermon interactive and conversational.

After church, hubby and I came home and opened our gifts. Lots of blessings, lots of fun, lots of things we legitimately needed or wanted. Much to be grateful for.

Hubby’s best friend called then, and last-minute invited us over for lunch. We had an enjoyable visit with their very welcoming family.

The afternoon held naps, FaceTime with my family, and then in the evening, we ventured out to the theater (with our complimentary passes; thanks friends!) to see the new Will Smith movie, Collateral Beauty.

Yeah – here’s the title of today’s blog post that, after 500 words, I’m finally getting around to talking about. But it all ties together in the end.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should make plans to. It’s dramatic and emotional, certainly more of a crying movie than a laughing movie. But it’s thought-provoking, deep-conversation-starting, and so good.

The message behind the story is simply that good things can come out of pain. Inspiring the title, the quote that stands out the most is when, in a conversation with a grieving woman whose child is dying, a character urges her, “Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty.” 

I love that phrase. The concept is not new, but I feel it gives a name to what we’ve been living and experiencing over the past year-and-a-half. Good has come from the loss of our first baby and struggles with health this year. Growth in ourselves, conversations we would never have had otherwise, the ability to relate to people with similar sufferings, ministry grown out of pain. 

Will Smith’s movie put a name to this season of my life: Collateral Beauty.

christmas

So the Day After Christmas, my heart is full and content, grateful for the kindness and blessings of my Heavenly Father. Hopeful for the week ahead and the year ahead. I pray yours is, too. Apologies for the long post and thanks for reading! Hugs! 🙂

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