Monday, December 22, 2008

Two Things You Told Me

As long as I can remember of my time here in Wisconsin, we've cut down our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It's a tradition we've continued as the GregBats.

When we lived in New Orleans, we were so poor that one Christmas, we waited until Our Savior Lutheran School got out and took the best real tree from the classrooms - the fourth grade one - and took it home.

It was one of those small ones, probably three feet high. At home we had a front window where we put the tree, so my mom put the tree on a desk, draped the tree skirt around the tree and off the sides of the desk, and decorated it. People driving by saw a tree. Inside, it looked like a tree to us kids.

You remember things like that when its December 21 and you haven't put up a single decoration and you're trying to figure out where to get a tree. It seemed so unChristmasy to go to a lot. And we heard lots were thinned out. On top of that, we were being global warmed to the tune of -10 windchills. Can't take kids out in that.

So there Teia and I were in the hardware store, which had a bunch of live trees in the back.

I don't know. They just do.

So we're picking out a tree and it reminds me of the desk tree, and how it just looked like Christmas. I let Teia pick out the tree, shelled out the overpriced amount for it, then swung the car around the back to pick it up. We had to lower some seats, and it was cold.

But this song came on the radio, and I thought of the desk tree and Zoe. And my Dad and you all. And Teia and all my kids. About Christmas and how a tree can't really be overpriced if its going to sit in the window at home, can it? I wiped the tears out of my eyes and drove home.

Your Love Is Strong
by Jon Foreman

Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let your kingdom come
In my world and in my life
You give me the food I need
To live through the day
And forgive me as I forgive
The people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place
I look at the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why do I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us wicked sinners
Lead us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons


  1. deirdre2:09 PM

    I remember that tree. Not sure if it was the same Christmas, but I remember telling Mom not to cry, that if the extra kids (Uptown friends of our sister) were driving across town from their fancy houses in their fancy cars to come to our home for Christmas Eve, then that's because that's where CHRISTmas was best experienced.

    Then there was that Christmas when we got that beautiful calligraphy card that said, "Expect a miracle..." I guessed it was from elves ;-)as it was not signed. I do know it reminded us (then and afterwards)to expect a miracle. And we are still expecting and receiving miracles.

    The memories are of family, lots of family. Family of Batiansila. Family of God. We're all in this together, different facets of the gem of faith and hope.

    love from the oldest sister

    P.S. did you leave a tree for us?

  2. I believe with all my heart that this tree you found today will be the most beautiful one you have ever owned, because of your tender father heart and for all you have been through this past month. It represents LIFE in your home, and the beauty of the love that resides there. Your kids will make it perfect. And Zoe will love it as I am sure she loves being home with all of you. I am praying that life settles down for you, that you can take in deep breaths of fresh air, and let God soothe your hearts. He touched Zoe's heart in a miraculous way, same as He will do for you. God bless you Greg as you lead your family in tact and into the days ahead. He is with you, He is Strong, and oh Yes, He does love you. I do too.
    Prayers continue for your dad.


  3. Anonymous3:06 PM

    It is sure hard to read through all of the tears... but well worth it!!! The joy is overwhelming, picturing Zoe at home! In fact, would you post a picture of THAT, plz??? That would make me and half of America pretty darn happy this week!!!

    Stay with us, Zoe. Stay with us.

    Lots of love and admiration and prayers and awe from Jen, Jeremy & Jacob Schultz

  4. huntsouth3:50 PM

    This is a strange year for us, too. The cool pajamas that I always give my kids on Christmas Eve have become their main gift, I think. It's sort of strange. No massive cookie baking, and most of the ornaments are on the tree, but we are so low key this year. We'll be taking a trip, instead, to see David, back from Baghdad, and his wife and their baby. I feel the longing to DO all of the traditional stuff, but I don't mind that my kids will have a more Jesus-oriented day. We'll be together and there is always someone whom we find that needs a family for the day. I feel your conflict. Reality won't let me fulfill all that's in my heart, so I'll just let the Lord deal with me on that one. God bless you with a sweet, family time, full of Thanksgiving for all the blessings you've experienced and the ones yet to be.

  5. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Have a blessed and merry Christmas. My little boy with trisomy 18 was only with us for a few hours in November, but I know he resides in heaven now, protecting my family and Zoe's on this Christmas.

  6. You know, as poor as we were, I remember never really feeling poor. There was the reality of it, and the daily bread living that Mom and Dad taught us. Do you ever remember it being bare under the tree? No, because Mom shopped all year for all the special deals she could find, always always thinking of us. And Dad would save up and take us to Leonard Krauer to look at jewelry or a stereo or something unbelievable for Mom. And no matter what - new babies, strep throat, stomach flu - mom always made the house feel like Christmas. Not just with her decor, but with her music (Vienna Boys Choir at least),her heart, and her gift of being the best Mom for us. Thank you, thank you Jesus for Mom and Dad.



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