All December we have had the joy of sharing open hearts and homes. Today, Christmas Eve, we have the joy of sharing a special heart and home with you. Peeking in this heart and home is a time I will always treasure and we pray it touches your heart as we share!

“This is going to be the best Christmas ever, I just know it!”

Joy and anticipation were flowing as she planned for Christmas. Residing in her first real apartment, making a home and looking forward to creating memories, she trimmed the tree and told her family repeatedly, “This is going to be the best Christmas ever, I just know it!”

leslie tree

A tiny cat with wings perched at the tippy top just under the bow. Red, green and white ornaments. Nothing unusual and that to those who know her may be the most unusual thing about this sweet tree.  A beautiful sight for my eyes! I simply enjoy a beautiful tree. As I stood to enjoy the sight, details of this tree were shared with me…”she made those white balls with her hands”; the branches sticking out are twigs she cut from trees; she tied the garland herself; she was so excited!”

We touch the tiny wooden nativity ornament lit by the lights.

leslie nativity

“This is going to be the best Christmas ever!”

The small apartment was filled with Christmas preparations that spoke of her heart’s desires. Just above the sink were the words familiar to many, “Home is where the heart is” and anyone could see the thoughtfulness of her planning.

Gifts wrapped in special paper waiting to be given to loved ones.

Handmade snowmen stacked around the room for family. Each one made from a tree, with the help of a very special father figure, from logs she helped cut on the church grounds. She saw those logs and said , “We should make snowmen!”

leslie snowman2

Lists on the kitchen counter with special notes of things she would like to give and receive.

Memories were cherished in picture frames and there were even empty ones hung with anticipation of filling them with new memories.

Memories were important in the heart dwelling within this little apartment. And memories are important to ones that let me peek inside. The letters on the wall above the couch spell out this sentiment:

“With every step we take together
There’s another memory made forever” 

Leslie Alexandra Fishel

“This will be the best Christmas ever!”

We close the door, leave the apartment. The light is aglow at the door but no one is home. Not at this home. The heart that prepared this home is now rejoicing in heaven! A home prepared for Her by a Prince! The Prince that came from Heaven as a babe, to grow and walk this earth alongside us, to demonstrate perfect love because He is perfect love, to later die on a cross for our sins. He took His princess home, to the perfect place He prepared. This is her best Christmas ever! Leslie is sharing Christmas with the King of kings!

Leslie’s family trusts that this is the best Christmas ever!

Tomorrow they will celebrate the birth of Jesus.

They will open the gifts Leslie made and wrapped and they will shed tears.

They will celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Their hearts are broken from the pain of loss, tragic loss. It will hurt.

So why? Why would they open this heart and home and share the joy they see and know? Why would they celebrate at such a difficult time?

 Because they trust this:

 

“We are born as children of God. We grow up carrying the last name of men, but ultimately we are His. We are meant to dwell among men for “a vapor” of time before we are called home.”

~Amber Sandeford, sister of Leslie

 

They believe and have hope is this:

 

“That all those Christmas’s ago, he sent His one and only Son to also dwell among men, to love and live and experience this earth before He called Him home after that same sweet son was hung on a cross. That was the ultimate gift to us, so that we could experience eternal life with Jesus. He loved us THAT much! Us who have baggage and things we are ashamed of, but he takes it and washes it away. We are born because of Jesus and we die because of Jesus. He makes no mistakes. There is an appointed time for each of us and we do not know this time for it will come just as quick as He will soon come for us all… “Like a thief in the night”. 

~Amber Sandeford

And their prayer is that you will look forward to the best Christmas ever too! This is why they share!

leslie rainbow

I can’t get that light at her door shining brightly out of my mind. I stared at it for some time before we drove away and wondered should we turn it off. God whispered. Her light is bright before you because it continues to shine! It shines in the memories you hold of her. It shines through her family that loved her so. It shines as bright today as it did each time you saw her smile here on earth. Let that little light shine! She’s having the best Christmas ever! ~ Jodie

To Leslie’s family, Thank you letting for us see a glimpse of Leslie’s heart and home. Our prayers are continual for your comfort and peace. We love you.