Saturday, December 27, 2008

"No Empty Chairs"

Christmas eve night we always have a nice dinner usually at my parents house. Last year we were up north for a niece's wedding and planned on staying and driving home Christmas eve night if the weather was good. Well, the weather didn't cooperate so we ended up going home a few days before Christmas eve. We had our first Christmas with just our little family last year. Little did I know it would be our only Christmas with Wyatt. I'm grateful we had that time together. I made name tags last year to go on the table. We planned out all the fun things we were going to do that night and it ended up being a very nice Christmas.

Well, this year we planned on going up north if the weather would be good for us to drive home Christmas eve night again but that didn't work out so we did our own dinner and activities again at home this year.

While I was decorating for Christmas a few weeks ago I came across our name tags that I had made last year. I flipped through them to find Wyatt's name. I thought at the time, what am I going to do with this? Do I throw it away--instant thought-NO. Then what do I do with it? I had spent some time thinking about it and I decided I would just put his name tag on the table.

As I was thinking about setting the table and where I was going to put Wyatt's name tag I had the feeling that I needed to set a place for him. I know that might sound weird but I've learned that I need to go with my gut feelings because usually there turns out to be some sort of meaning to it. So, I set a place for him.

As I was looking over at the table a little while later I noticed he didn't have a chair at his spot. I thought maybe I should go get a chair to put there and the instant thought came to me--No, he is already in his chair. He has made it to the celestial kingdom and he is waiting for each of us to fill our chairs. It went right along with our family motto of "No Empty Chairs." Even though there is an empty spot at our table this year we have the hope that we will be an eternal family and there will be a day when our table is full and EVERY chair is filled. Wyatt has filled his chair.

We were able to spend a few minutes during dinner talking about this and the symbolism on why he didn't have a chair at the table. We were able to enforce how important it is that we do our very best so that we can fill our chairs along side Wyatt's. It turned out being a very spiritual and special moment. I'm so grateful that we had already for years talked about our family motto of "No Empty Chairs" because I think it was to prepare us for this year. Our focus in life has now changed somewhat. I feel we have always been focused on those things that will lead us to the celestial kingdom but now that we actually have someone there waiting for us. It gives us even more motivation to do what we know we need to do so we can all be back home together. Here is that quote again by President Ezra T. Benson:

"God intended the family to be eternal. With all my soul, I testify to the
truth of that declaration. May he bless us to strengthen our homes and the lives
of each family member so that in due time we can report to our Heavenly Father
in His celestial home that we are all there--father, mother, sister, brother,
all who hold each other dear. Each chair is filled. We are all back home."



Heather said...

Your family is so darling! Your Christmas posts were so meaningful and sweet. Your testimony and strength are admirable.

I heard a quote the other day in the Emma Smith movie: "Strength isn't something you have. It's something God helps you find. And usually we have to find it one day at a time." Emma Smith - My Story

It reminds me of good people like you who look to God in times of trials. Sorry - if it's weird to comment when i don't know you personally - but I loved the testimony and moments you shared.

Robyn said...

You are such an inspired mother. Everything you do is beautiful! I love you name tags, I love your traditions, I love your Christmas table and I love you. You remind me that I need to be better at teaching my children. I am so glad you had a good Christmas. I am sorry that it had to include grief. XOXO

The Holland Family said...

Andrea, You are awesome! Your ability to find symbolism is incredible. Keep it up, it will get you through. You are listening to the spirit speak. You will be so glad you wrote all of these things down too. Wyatt loves you so much. Tender Mercies are everywhere for you. What a great story. Love & Hugs - Nicole

Jill said...

I love how the spirit is obviously guiding you through these toughest times. You're creating such special and meaningful traditions for your family.

Marc and Megan said...

I love what you decided to do, Andrea. What a beautiful teaching moment and tradition to continue on. I'm sure Wyatt loved seeing his place there at the table! We struggled with a few traditions, trying to figure out if and how we should adapt them to include our twins. And, in the end, like you, we decided we needed to go with the changes we felt like we needed to make, because they are still so much a part of our family.

I'm so grateful to know you. Thank you for sharing yourself with me and all the others you are touching. It will be wonderful to meet in real life someday!

One other thing, a little off-topic, I want to know more about your almond/ice cream tradition... it sounds like a fun one to add to ours. :)

Anonymous said...

Your children are beautiful - all four of them.

I wonder if you have visited Stephanie Waite's blog - A Daily Scoop? She started her blog at a similar time to your's, but just prior to losing her baby daughter. I find her quite inspiring.

Love to you,

Jane from Australia

Natalie said...

I think there was definately a reason it was bad weather. I'm so glad you were able to spend Christmas Eve the way you did. I love you testimony Andrea. You really are so strong.

Nathan Gedge said...

beautifully written Andrea! You have such a strong testimony and I feel lucky to know you. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. May 2009 bring peace to your troubled heart.

Leanne said...

what a beautiful Christmas. I love that you put in so much effort just for your family, like the adorable name tags. I need to be more attentive to the memories I make for my own family, thanks for the inspiration.

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