I think I said this last year around this time in my defense..."I was not raised this way." We always decorated the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving when I was growing up. In fact, I don't remember us doing the shopping thing (to my mother and sister's dismay I'm sure) but I do remember us pulling out all the decorations and putting up our tree. Those are wonderful memories for me.
Celebrating the birth of our Savior was always forefront in my childhood home, we knew what Christmas was all about. Yes, Santa came and dropped off presents each and every Christmas Eve, but it didn't end there. I remember spending time with family and wonderful meals and my grandparents and their love for the Lord.
I so enjoy a lighted Christmas tree when everything else is dark, I always have. I like getting out the decorations and seeing my grandmother's things or something my mom has given me that we used to set out in our home when I was a little girl. It brings sweet memories to my mind. I like having new traditions now with my own family as well. The kids are always excited to get the Christmas decorations out.
I think back to when my dad had surgery around the end of October. I can talk about it now and share b/c it was years ago but it was a very difficult time for our family, my father had never been ill. I was privileged to be able to care for him. I was able to stay at the hospital with him and hope I was of some help and comfort while my mom was able to rest up for when my dad came home.
So many of you have been through the same type thing with a loved one. We were worried, scared, unsure...you know all of those things. It was just an emotional and stressful time. On my way back home I distinctly remember telling Chad that I wanted to put our tree up. I don't know, there is just something calming and comforting to it. Maybe it was seeing those ornaments and such from my childhood, I'm not sure, but that's what I wanted to do...so like the first or second Saturday in November we did just that.
Fast forward at least 5 or 6 years to the Christmas of 2007, the year our little girl was born. Before Sophie Kate was born a friend of mine who also has a December baby (SK's due date was Dec. 7th) was telling me what a sweet time of year it was when her little one was born. Sitting up with him late at night feeding him with the Christmas lights on all around them, sweet memories...I couldn't wait.
For the month of November 2007 our baby girl was in the NICU, things were never going to be as they had been, we were changed. I spent as much time as I possibly could at her bedside, rarely to never missing an opportunity to be with her, to bond with her, to let her know we were there. Chad graciously allowed me that time with our daughter even the many late nights I spent there with her.
One November night however I did not return for that late night visit, we decided to put up our Christmas tree with the boys. We needed that, our boys needed that...not the Christmas tree necessarily but the normalcy, the time spent with just mama and daddy...mama and daddy needed that time with them too. It was bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter. More sweet b/c we had hope and it wasn't the hope that everything would be ok if Sophie Kate got better, although believe me we prayed fervently for that. It was the hope we have in our hearts that even if Sophie Kate was never healed this side of heaven that we were going to be ok. Because of the birth of Jesus followed by His death and Resurrection, we have nothing to fear on this earth.
Our boys in front of our Christmas tree, December 2007
Our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year.
SK likes looking at the lights on the tree more than I do I think.
Christmas is a beautiful time of year, the lights and decorations are so festive, but what makes it truly beautiful is the birth of our Savior. Our pastor has been bringing us the Word in his Sunday morning series on Table Manners. Just talking about taking Jesus with you wherever you are this Holiday season, whether it is in welcoming folks into your home or in being a guest in someone else's home.
1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
No matter when our Christmas decorations go up, His love and His truth should go with us wherever we find ourselves this Holiday season.
Thanks for indulging me in my Christmas tree memories.