Thursday, November 19, 2015

Christmas Presence

   Christmas is approaching. It's always been my favorite time of year. Even after the passing of my mom & my husband, when I struggled to choose happiness, I still love Christmas. I love the lights and songs and the smell of cinnamon-y, pine-y, balsam-y, wintery things. The whole nine... even plain red Starbucks cups. Just today I took a selfie with a Christmas tree at Kroger, just because it smelled so damn good. 

Every year, I see more and more about simplifying; getting the kids ONE gift. Doing a small tree or no tree. Not wanting to be bothered to remember to move the damn elf (you really don't have to make him zipline the house, y'all). Skipping seeing Santa because of the line. Maybe because you truly feel it takes focus away from Jesus and the reason for the season. Maybe you're lazy. Maybe you're tired or bored or disenchanted. I get it. I'm so far past tired, it would take light a billion years to get back to tired from where I am! Maybe you're mourning something or someone. Maybe you need a Christmas off. And you know what? That's fine by me. Make your season about whatever you want. Lay low. Celebrate your King however you want. Simplify it down to a prayer and a good breakfast on Christmas morning. 

  The Christmas after my mom died, I wasn't sure I could keep up the "Christmas pace" as usual. It was hard to accept that it would be the first year in my whole life I didn't get a stocking from Santa. Yes, I was 31. So? I loved my mom's traditions! I missed the orange she always put in the bottom of the stocking. And the toothpaste and toothbrush. I missed the chapsticks and the lottery scratch offs, and the random trinkets I had no idea what possessed her to get! You have no idea how loved I felt by my mother because of her efforts to love me. On December 25, 2012, I woke up to no stocking. And I felt sadness. Christmas hoop-la may be a thing of the past for me. Something that died with my mother. Christmas isn't *just* about Jesus for me. It's about my family. And I felt alone without my mom, even with my husband and daughter, and yes even Jesus, next to me. I needed the Holy Spirit to help me that day. 

Then, in Fort Worth, Texas... it snowed... on Christmas Day. To non-believers, that's no sign to you (it's just weather, right), but I read it loud and clear. It was a big gift from my mom. I LOVE snow. It isn't something we get to enjoy a lot of around here. And I can't think of a better time to have it. I cried in my closet for half an hour that Christmas Day, while Jason played with Lila in the snow. MY snow. I'm sure she had to call in some favors to arrange that. 

So for me, it's go big or go home. I almost let Christmas die for me, y'all. Never again. We are going to see Santa. The elf is coming all the way from the North Pole. And he will move every night! The dog gets a stocking. We are watching "Elf" 10,000 times. I will burn through 50-11 Balsam candles. I commit to play Michael BublĂ© softly, while I sip hot chocolate. We are putting up a big tree, we are putting lights on the house, and I'm going to get my girls more than 1 present to unwrap on Christmas morning. We are going to make a gingerbread house, snowman cookies, and popcorn garland. ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS THINGS. I'm wearing an ugly Christmas sweater as I type! And I'm spamming ALL the Facebook feeds with it! 

Call me commercial if you want, but I know you only get so many of these things. You get a handful. A couple years when your kids will light up so much in anticipation and excitement. It's truly magical. And each Christmas morning that passes, they'll be a whole different kid than they were the Christmas before. Then one year, they'll take their own car to the local Jack in the Box for a grease-pocket taco on Christmas Day after they're bored with you. So, while I have their attention, I'm taking advantage. Remind me to add oranges to my Christmas shopping list. 

Ps. Yes, I realize it's "not even Thanksgiving yet!"  

Whatever it is you celebrate, I'm good with it! Just make it good,

   { Lila, Christmas 2011}

{Lila & my snow, Christmas 2012}

{Daddy & Lila, Christmas 2013}

{Harper, Christmas 2013}

{George girls, Christmas 2014}