Friday, December 16, 2011

Tis the Season

And the time is upon us. I have to say that despite the hectic schedule, the money going out to buy presents, the INSANE traffic and planning for nearly everyone we're related to be in our house for Christmas I'm having a blast!! I love Christmas.
But it wasn't always that way. Growing up Christmas was not always the "season to be jolly" at my house. For one thing, it seemed that the pressure of having the "perfect Christmas" drove my mother to distraction and her edginess put my Dad in a dither. And then, when I was 15, my mother left at Christmas, marring the potential joy of the season for many years. Charlie Brown had nothing on the pathetic Christmases that ensued for a few years. We even went tree-less for awhile, not being able to muster the gumption to dig the fake, dilapadated tree out of the storage shed.
However, as the years passed, I slowly grew a fondness for cold weather and the general busyness of the holidays, was well as a sense of relief and rest that followed the flurry and headache of finals at college. There was nothing like making that drive home from Abilene on a chilly afternoon, knowing I had finished another semester and would get nearly 4 weeks with my family and high school friends. I learned to enjoy New Year's Eve and began listening to winter music, if not Christmas music: Baby It's Cold Outside, Winter Wonderland, What are You Doing New Year's.
Then I met Jonathan one summer while interning in Colorado. We immediately fell in like and began dating and had the most fun fall semester. The church I had worked at in Colorado had a winter camp between Christmas and New Years, so to see Jonathan and see my youth group kids, I bought a ticket and flew up to see him. That first dating Christmas, and being in Colorado for the holidays was magic. It was truly a white Christmas, and Jonathan bought me gifts and we were googly-eyed at each other. All of a sudden Christmas began to look more and more enjoyable.
Every year after that it got better. The next Christmas he proposed and we spent the winter camp enjoying planning a spring wedding. Our first married Christmas I was actually in Colorado on Christmas morning and got to wake up to a White Christmas and the joy of his HUGE family and all their chaos. Four of his five siblings were there and his 4 nieces and nephews made a raucous that rivaled an Avalanche game. It was pure bliss for me.That was the year I fell back in like with Christmas. I realized that Christmas is wonderful when you are in love, but it's magical when there are kids.
From the first Christmas we had Judah, everything changed. I wanted to make memories. I wanted to take pictures. I wanted to decorate! It was so much fun. And it just gets better with every kid we add. We have never been rich. Christmas has never been a blow out event. We stay reasonable, make a lot of gifts by hand, and don't allow the "I want I want" attitude. We don't do Santa Claus, but we try to protect the truth from our friends who do. We focus on family and time together more than any particular tradition. But watching my children grow into an understanding of the Greatest Gift we get, Christ in us, the hope of Glory has been the biggest blessing.
I love Christmas. My husband taught me to like Christmas again. My children taught me to enjoy Christmas again. Jesus taught me to love Him again at Christmas as I come to understand the Gospel through the story of His birth.  

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