(This one is for you, Tommy…just so I won’t be “boring” anymore!)
For various reasons, I have been more excited than usual about this Christmas. Maybe it is where I am spiritually, maybe it is the age of our kids, maybe it is the 2 week vacation I am currently enjoying, who knows! The Christmas spirit bug hit me early this year. I started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving and had almost all of my Christmas shopping done on or before Black Friday (well, Ed did the Black Friday thing…thanks, honey!). I’ve worn Christmas-y earrings every day, we decorated the house right after Thanksgiving, we helped buy toys for a needy family, we provided groceries and cookies through our church’s outreach programs, we’ve listened to our kids sing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” more times than I can possibly count, I participated in our neighborhood cookie exchange, and we were one of the host homes for our neighborhood progressive dinner. Every one of these things has made me so happy and I wish we would all have more of the Christmas spirit every day of the year! And for the record, I don’t think I have said “Happy Holidays” once this year…Merry CHRISTmas!
This will be the first year that either of our girls have participated in a Christmas program at church. Although Ed and I have never wavered in our faith, we stopped attending church regularly a few years ago and just started back to being involved in a church about a year ago. We had not been attending Brickcity Community Church long enough for our kids to have had time to get involved with the Christmas program there last year so I was really excited to have them be able to participate this year. We had the dress rehearsal tonight and it was really emotional for me to see my kids up on stage during their performance. This past year has seen Hailey really grow in her faith. She enjoys reading her Bible and she was baptized at her request a couple of months ago. Leah really pays attention at church and will ask me questions during the week. She knows that God loves her and she will say that Jesus is with her when she is afraid. Being a part of a church family was a huge part of my life growing up – youth group, VBS, choir practice, trips, etc. and I want my kids to have the same experiences – but the best part for me is that THEY want to have those experiences. They enjoy church and they really soak in everything that they learn while they are there. Our faith and trust in God and our joy at all the blessings He has given us are definitely things I want to pass on to my children. Their program is certainly not what you would see in a typical church, but it is just perfect for BCC and I was so proud of them tonight. Hopefully they will be able to record it and I will post the link to the video here.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the things that made me so happy as a kid at Christmas – the little elves my mom had that we hid under the tree, the tinsel we draped over the tree branches (does anyone even do that anymore), my mom’s “trash” (Chex mix), going to my grandparents and playing with all of my cousins, listening for Santa’s sleigh bells (just in case you are wondering, yes, I do still belive in Santa Claus!), driving around at night looking at lights and visiting my parent’s friends and relatives, coming downstairs in the morning to see all that Santa had left for my sisters and me, my dad’s AWFUL and insanely bright light to his video camera (you can see us squinting in all the videos), and so much more!
A friend of mine from high school passed away last week and my thoughts and prayers have been with his family and close friends, but especially his wife and young son. I hope that each Christmas, they are able to pause and celebrate his life and the fact that Jesus was born to give all of us everlasting life…instead of mourning his passing. That is so easy for me to say, but I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to lose a loved one at Christmas and how difficult it must be every year to remember the pain of your loss at a time when everyone else around you is cheerful and happy and telling you to be merry and happy yourself. Brant’s death was expected after a very courageous battle with cancer, so I was happy to hear that he was able to celebrate an early Christmas with his family. My heart aches for his family and for all the families who have so tragically lost loved ones this year.
My final musing of the night is in regards to my house. We say that our living room was meant for a Christmas tree – and it really is. We have a large picture window with no panes that looks out into the street – just perfect for a big fat Christmas tree. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who very nicely wrapped the branches with white lights for me because I couldn’t do it this year. I like A LOT of lights…like, you could land an airplane on our street in the dark if you needed to. The lights reflect off the wood floors and the tree is so bright on its own that we rarely have any other lights on in the front of the house. When I am in my living room at Christmas, I can feel a very happy and peaceful sense of the past 89 Christmases that were celebrated in this very room. I know it sounds crazy, but I only “feel” the past in our house at Christmas, and only in the living room. I wish I could describe it, but I can just say that it is a wonderful feeling and I know a lot of wonderful Christmas memories were made in this room and I can’t wait to make many more years of memories!
I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!