12/30/09

A Reason to Celebrate

(published in the Tri County Scene)
Each year many people look forward to decorating their homes for the holiday season. While a single tree and maybe a wreath on the front door are enough for some, others put a little “Christmas spirit” in every room of their home.
Leslie McDonald of Rochelle loves the Christmas season. It’s been her favorite holiday since childhood. She has fond memories of many Christmases past spent with family members. “It was never about how much we had or about how many gifts were under the tree, but about quality time spent together as a family”, she stated. “We’ve always celebrated the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Leslie’s mother, Ida Pearl Walker, went on to be with the Lord on May 3, 1985. The first Christmas without her was very sad for the family. They knew Christmas would never be the same without this special lady, but Leslie decided to celebrate the holiday to the fullest, keeping in mind that this particular Christmas Mrs. Walker was celebrating with Jesus in Heaven. That was enough reason to spread Christmas cheer throughout the entire house.
From that Christmas until now, Leslie decorates every room in her home for the season. As soon as Thanksgiving is over she gets out the boxes of holiday decorations, puts on some Christmas music, and transforms her home into a “holiday haven”.
When visiting the McDonald home during the Christmas season, one can find a tree in practically every room, with the living room hosting a large tree and two smaller ones. The large tree holds favorite ornaments that belonged to Leslie’s mother and some that were given to her by her mother-in-law, Mary Lou McDonald. She also has ornaments that belonged to her husband’s grandmother.
There is a small tree in one bedroom that is also very special to her. Hung on this tree are miniature hand-painted wood ornaments. These ornaments were also used by Mary Lou McDonald when Leslie and John’s daughters were very young.
Last year, Leslie added a very unique tree to her dining room. This tree is adorned with blue and gold ornaments. She calls this tree the “Patriot Tree” in honor of her nephew, Tommy Fuller and the other members of the Patriot football team. She proudly displays the tree again this year in honor of the team’s winning season.
When asked if she has any special plans for this Christmas, she smiles with tears in her eyes as she talks about her first grandchild and how much his first Christmas means to her and to her family.
Logan Chase Conner was born on April 9, 2009, but last Christmas the family was not given hope that he would survive birth. If he did survive, doctors were convinced that with the severity of his Spin bifida he would not have any quality of life. They felt medically that it would be impossible for the child to ever talk, walk, or do anything healthy babies should do. This news made the entire family feel as if there was no hope for them that holiday season. Their situation seemed hopeless, but they committed the matter to God and never gave up praying for a miracle.
The family’s prayers were answered were answered as God performed one miracle after another on the unborn child. This Christmas they are full of hope as they watch Logan continue to prove doctors wrong. The entire family is excited about celebrating Christmas with this special little boy, and of course, Leslie has added one more special tree to her home.
In Logan’s nursery, she decorated a small tree with teddy bears, including one of his favorites at the top of the tree. She was spending the day with her grandson the day she put this tree up. After showing him his tree she quietly whispered to him, “Christmas is about another baby boy that was born a long time ago to be the Savior of the world”.
As children do, Logan will surely enjoy all of the bright lights and festive colors to be found this time of the year as homes and businesses celebrate the Christmas season. Through the years he will also no doubt look forward to feeling the Christmas spirit felt at his grandmother’s house, through not only the decorations, but the miraculous stories to be told to him of Jesus’ birth as well as his own.

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