The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift


On the 1st of December I came across this set of 25 downloadable notecards  by Ann Voskamp, extracted from her popular book The Greatest Gift. There’s one for every day this month, up to and including Christmas Day.

Ann Voskamp is also the author of the bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are which spent sixty weeks on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. I write about my experience of reading ‘One Thousand Gifts’ here.

When I looked at Ann’s daily notecards for Advent and read them, I decided that I would like to share one each day on my Facebook page and Twitter feed.

I’m not sure if any month of the year is particularly easy since Leah died, but December, with its extra emphasis on communal happiness and family togetherness, is especially difficult.

This year, December brings with it the second anniversary of Leah’s final hospitalisation on the 27th December and her eighteenth birthday on New Year’s Eve.

I find that these little thoughts for Advent by Ann Voskamp are just enough to catch my attention and to hold in my head – they are neither too long nor too short. They help me to remember that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday – something that meant a great deal to Leah. Read this blog to find out more about one of her favourite Christmas songs.

I was shopping today – something that I’ve consistently struggled with since Leah died, as she loved shopping so much and was my frequent companion on shopping trips.


I was shopping in Belfast, the place where Leah and I spent so much time together while attending hospital appointments. Today, when I bought something to put on her grave on her 18th birthday, my tears started to fall once again.

However as I sobbed quietly, I told myself that this wouldn’t be the day when I would lose myself in sadness. I let the tears fall as I walked with my head bowed through the hordes of Christmas shoppers.

I remembered something of what I had read much earlier today. As I walked I gave thanks for the lives of each one of our four children – including the one whose life was cut short, the one who was only given to us on loan.

I prayed and talked quietly to God in my heart and I felt His comfort.