it's beginning to feel a lot like christmas

These days, it seems my Instagram feed is filled to the brim with pictures of the Elf on the Shelf. It's as if Christmas isn't Christmas anymore without a specialized elf. Well, without the elf and a dozen cookie swaps. This house remains elfless and cookie-less (although I have been invited to a couple of cookie swaps in the coming weeks), and you know what, I believe our home still feels like Christmas.

The girls are constantly whispering things about a certain jolly old elf to each other across the car and the dinner table. Mya tells Genevieve she's on the naughty list at least five times a day (but if you want my honest opinion Elle should be the only one getting gifts this year). V plugs and unplugs the Christmas lights a million times a day. I trip over said Christmas light cords too many times to count. The tree is lit from the moment I get up to the moment I go to sleep because there is something about those lights that pushes the Grinch out and the invites the Christmas spirit in.

Things are tight this year. Tighter than past years. There will be fewer gifts, and I'm sure one brown-eyed girl is going to have her heart broken more than once on Christmas morning, but it would be impossible for anyone to check off every item on her list. But although her heart might ache for a forgotten toy, I know she'll love what she gets, and she will smile the way she always smiles knowing people love her.

Mya and I have been talking a lot about Christmas this year. While she talks to her sisters about Santa, she rarely talks to me about him. We get to mull over deeper topics. We've been reading the scriptural accounts of Christ's birth since December 1st. We aren't very far, but we are getting somewhere. Instead of placing an emphasis on Santa and his gifts, we've recently been talking a lot about the wise men and their gifts to the young Jesus.

Today we discussed the long journey the wise men took just to kneel at Christ's feet. I asked her about the longest trip she's ever taken and asked her about her feelings regarding that trip. She said, "It was so long to be on that airplane. I felt so frustrated having to sit all those years (hours are years to a 5 year old). I just wanted to get there." I told her that the wise men probably experienced many of her same feelings. I have no doubt that their journey was long, frustrating and exhausting, but their hope and desire to meet Christ kept them moving forward toward the bright star. I asked her what she thought they felt when they finally arrived. She said, "I bet they wanted to take a nap." Yes, I'm sure they did. I asked, "Do you think they were so happy to finally see Jesus?" She said, "Yes. That's why they brought him gifts."

I do think the gifts were a token of their excitement to meet him, but I explained that I felt the gifts symbolized so much more. They were a symbol of sacrifice. The gifts were not picked up at the corner store (although I have no problem with the corner store), they were expensive, thoughtful gifts. I also told her that the gift itself really didn't matter, but the sacrifice did.

We talked about the gifts she wants, and we talked about what it would take for Santa and mom and dad to get them for her. I wish I could've recorded the moment because you should've seen her face. She looked at me and said, "Wow mom, Christmas means people will be working hard for me." I replied, "Yes baby, but we all do it because we love you...just like the wise men loved Christ."

I've been trying to relate all the familiar Christmas traditions to something we read in the scriptures. I am hoping that it will help this house remember what's really important when the big day comes.

I love Christmas. I love the twinkling lights, the lawn Nativity sets, the polite smiles, the cheerful Salvation Army bell ringers, the sweet grandpa Santa Clauses at every mall, the hanging stockings, the smell of freshly baked cookies, the giving trees, but mostly I love the simple reason we celebrate this holiday: Jesus Christ.

My testimony in Him and Heavenly Father has been strained over the past few years. I'm done pointing fingers and placing blame. Our relationship is on the mend. It has been for the past while. I am a believer. My beliefs in God and Christ have changed as I've changed. I believe God is more loving than I can understand. I feel Him in the wind on my runs. I feel Him when I cry in the middle of the day and get on my knees and plead for help. I feel Him when I see the burnt orange and pink sunsets. I feel Him when I laugh with my girls. I feel Him when Tim and I are having a really good cuddle. I am beginning to feel Him everywhere again. And that to me is what Christmas is all about.

1 comment :

  1. Loved. Finally caught up with your blog. I am horrible at checking blogs. I love reading yours though. I loved seeing V and Mya with that Christmas tree, I loved pictures of your family, and your goals. Your a good woman and an awesome mother!


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