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Here we find ourselves right on the cusp of Christmas. Where did the year go? No matter how much I intend to plan, or how far into the future I look, Christmas always seems to sneak up on me like a ninja. Then, BAM!, it's all over and I'm left wondering "Where did Christmas go?". Can you relate? As an adult, the joy of the season is often elusive- at least for me. There is a lot of stress and like everyone else we are busy. In my efforts to do everything and make everything as close to perfect as I can, I often (and quite easily) become Scrooge and end up feeling like I missed it.
Today, though, I am feeling nostalgic. I'm remembering Christmas' from long ago. I am allowing the feelings and emotion of those times to rise to the surface and wash over me. It's a kind of gift that I give myself once in a while that always brings a smile to my face. For me, Christmas was Grandma & Grandpa's house. We would go there every Christmas Eve and all the Aunts, Uncles, and cousins from that side of the family would be there as well. Dinner would be eaten, games would be played, stories would be told, and gifts opened. Sometimes we would even stay the night and that was the cherry on top. I know that when we returned home, we would open gifts as well; but oddly enough, I don't remember any of that. I don't remember specific gifts from my grandparents either. What I do remember is the feeling. The feeling of family. The feeling of acceptance. The feeling of love. Aside from what we are celebrating at this time of year, that is what Christmas is to me. While all those (for the most part) that made that time so special to me are gone, the gift they gave me still lingers.
That's what I want for my children and grandchildren. I want Christmas time to not be about the food, the house, the decorations, or the gifts. I don't want to be so consumed with trying to have everything perfect and running smoothly that I miss out on the people, on my family. While Christ is the center of our celebrations and His birth is paramount, I want to give them each the same thing, the same feelings that were given to me growing up by those who loved me. When they look back twenty years from now and think of our family celebrations, I want what my grandparents gave me to still be alive and well inside of them.
I am so grateful that the Lord has kept us all together. I love it that we are literally blocks away from each other and see each other several times a week. I love it that my kids WANT to spend time with each other and with us. I'm not so naïve as to think that all families are like this. I moved away and rarely ever go back. But I carry the memory, feelings, and emotion of those times in my heart and it is my heart's desire that one day, my children will have those same feelings. I want our grandchildren to feel the same way that I did when I knew I was going to grandma & grandpa's. Now that I am a grown up, I can see what a priceless gift they gave me. I know I took it for granted when I was younger, but I get it now.
While it has become increasingly important to me to pass their legacy on to my children, I have come to realize that I need to work on being less Martha and more Mary so that I don't wake up wondering where it all went and having missed out on all the gifts GOD tried to give me.
But, if I'm being honest, I can see how this was really a gift from GOD. I can see how GOD was demonstrating His love for me through them. I can say that when I was around them it was some of the sweetest times I can remember.
So while we get together with our loved ones and exchange gifts, take a few minutes and think about all the gifts GOD has given you. I don't mean the obvious- I mean the ones that didn't come wrapped in shiny paper with a pretty bow; the ones that often go overlooked. If you look deep enough, I'm sure you'll find some.
So, Merry Christmas everyone! Honor the LORD and enjoy your family. Don't worry about making the outter perfect. Work on the inner.
Blessings to you,