I just want to pause a second and breathe. Wow. What a month December has been. Is it really the New Year!? Really!?
Christmas was beautiful and blurry. With a one year old, I spent a lot of time hot gluing ornaments back together. I also did a lot of online shopping this year, which means some gifts arrived on Christmas eve, just in time for the next morning. But hey, I love surprises. My sister, Kailey, has a gift still trying it's best to get here from over seas. It was ordered November 25th. Next time I'll know if I order from Hong Kong to give it at least three months. An even bigger surprise. I had spent a lot of time in October and November crocheting fingerless gloves, ponchos, & hats for some of my gift giving this year. I kinda miss those incredibly late nights trying to finish a project.
Our trip to Texas was a week before Christmas weekend. What a trip this was. . .
The car ride was actually somewhat smooth thanks to a dear friend that loaned her secret to traveling with kiddos; the double screened DVD player. I'm not big on my kids gelling on TV for hours, mind you, but once I hit three kids, pesky no no's vanished. I welcomed the movies with open arms and big wet kisses. Really though, seven hours flew by. And it actually entertained baby J on the way there...we cracked up about him turning his head left and right trying to watch both screens with every movie. Unfortunately on the way home he was only half way impressed. With the warmth and goodness of seeing family and exchanging gifts of love, pulling into our driveway 4 days later was welcomed. Our truck smelled like a mixture of fries and pizza & I honestly felt like sleeping right into January.
Also, another unfortunate event is that my kids all came down sick the whole week before Christmas. No appetites, fever, heavy, heavy coughs and pouring eyes and noses. This eventually put us into the doctor's office Christmas eve. All you can do is laugh. *big smiles* Justin and I found ourselves saying, "Merry almost Christmas" in some of the oddest places; the waiting room at the doctor's office, holding a screaming baby and coaxing another to eat, & through an occasional snore come night.
We have this little tradition on Christmas eve. We have a "special" dinner by candle light, Justin reads the Christmas story aloud, dessert and then stockings. Or is it stockings then dessert?
Of course, it was tough this year with hacking kids and low appetite children. And the baby.....he was simply miserable. Just a bundle of misery. He cried and cried all evening....here I am running around trying to throw this "special" meal together listening to this screaming and crying. He did not want to be held, to eat, to lay down or anything else you could possibly conjure up. He was happy just constantly reminding us he was miserable. There was this once I put my head in my hand and let out a long sigh that said, "this is ruining Christmas eve and the fun of it...why are we even trying so hard?"
In that moment things got serious. The shooting at the elementary school came so heavy to my mind and heart that tears fell; what those parents would give to hear their children screaming right now on Christmas eve. Is it healthy, jolly little children that make this perfect or the truth that they're all right here.....with me.
It may have been a long, tiring month...and it wasn't the easiest Christmas we ever had, but compared to what some of those parents were missing this Christmas I had every reason in the world to celebrate.
It's horrific realities of life that make us finally understand what's important and what's worthwhile in life.
It was after that breathtaking reality shock that I embraced Christmas fully & quit trying to wish January upon us; among everything that wasn't perfect somehow I saw the manger & the lifesaving grace that laid there.....
Thank you, God, for this gift. Thank you, God. How hard it must have been to send your only son into such a fallen, unpredictable place. But in these horrific incidents on earth, I see what saving grace was wrapped in those swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.