This morning it is so quiet at my house. Correction, it is so quiet at my house right now. I'm sitting here in the dark, only lit by the lights from our Christmas tree and drinking coffee as I wait for our house to soon explode with noise, and energy, and the Spiderman-like climbing of furniture.
Today is Christmas at our house.
Like a child I couldn't sleep a wink last night, but it could have been a mixture of excitement and resentment because my husband spent all evening on a business call while I Christmas-ed up our house. Something I thought we'd do together. That's one problem with Christmas - sometimes our expectations can be too high - the picture we conjure up in our mind doesn't match with reality when the time comes. It's like prom - until you learn how to make Christmas more about being present. Let me know when you find the secret.
This is our first Christmas home in two years. For the past two years we dictated exactly what we want our Christmas to look like, and nestled inside our tiny little family, it was perfect. There were times when we had to start over....like here. But, still perfect by the end.
What has surprised me is how much I've loved this Christmas this year. By nature, Christmas is a sad time for me. Cue the violins...
As a mother, the birth story of Jesus to so sad to me. Giving birth as a teenager with no mom or doctor in sight...to a baby you love with every breath of your being - only to know in your gut that this isn't your baby.
I could go on with about 28 reasons Christmas is sad...but I don't want to put a damper on today. Instead I want to talk about how we just moved to this tiny little town four months ago and in the course of a week had FOUR PLATES of cookies hand-delivered - two plates by people we had never met but live on our street. As a farm-girl, turned city-girl, turned small-town girl....I was in awe.
I want to talk about how amazing the gift I made my sons is. How making it was cathartic and soothing all at once. At this point I don't even care if they don't ever play with it; what the process of remodeling a toy from my childhood has done has already paid for itself through the changing of my soul. Stay tuned for pictures!
I want to tell you about how I volunteered to help purchase, assemble, plan, and deliver Thanksgiving baskets for my church because I was desperately searching for a miracle, unsure if this was the place to find out. Then I want to tell you how we put together 85 baskets for people in need in our area so that they would have EVERY SINGLE THING they needed for Thanksgiving weekend as a family. Then I want to tell you how people are just so stinkin' generous and we had such a surplus of donations that we donated substantial amounts to local soup kitchens and daycares and food pantries in need, and how the donations were so great that we finally just gave up and bought all of those same families that got the Thanksgiving baskets Kroger gift cards to mail to them in January. I cried in church Sunday when I heard that. Sometimes God gives us miracles when we need them.
I want to tell you about Miles' Christmas program and how he sang out and did the motions. I also want to tell you about how he sat in the bleachers with all of his friends and watched the rest of the program while being perfectly behaved!
I want to tell you about the church Christmas program and the time when the teachers told the students not to talk into the microphones, so Liam chose not to sing a word since he had been placed right in front of the microphone. They, however, didn't say anything about not deep-sighing or letting out a little burp directly into the microphone.
I want to tell you about amazing Christmas dinners we've had with friends that we've missed for the past two years. Conversations over prime rib and wine, talking about our goals for 2014, even exchanging gifts. How I've missed them.
Today, if I'm honest, I have expectations of how the day will go. I have expectations of how my kids will open their gifts, and how breakfast will pan out. I have expectations of what time we'll leave for Ohio and how our drive out will go.
But for this moment I'm just going to sit in the early-morning glow of the Christmas tree - one of my favorite things about this time of year - and recount my blessings. 2014 is going to be about gratitude my friends.