Years past have come and gone in a blink, most decorating was done in a scurried pace or not done at all, hunting for gifts was bittersweet because we put them off and the rush of grumpy, greedy, or angry shoppers does not exactly inspire joy, there have been so many things we wanted to do at Christmas time but when it showed up we felt unprepared and rushed or the things we did were in a sense meaningless or just added "stuff", not reminding us of why we celebrate.
Four years ago, we went through a very difficult Christmas. I was pregnant with Noah and still very very sick. I was unable to do much preparing for the season. My mom and sister did most of my shopping for gifts, we did not attend most of the regular Christmas parties or get togethers, I had been unable to go to church at all, and we were unable to travel to visit family. I remember the night of our kid's Christmas concert, my nurse came over and spent the time with me while Matt attended the concert, I was so heartbroken that I could not make it, but I had just gotten my picc line removed because of complications and could not have the surgery to replace it until after the weekend, which left me unable to function not having the IV fluid and medication. Mary Beth, my nurse was working with me that evening to help me learn to put in my own catheter in my leg for the medication I was needing and could not keep down orally. I needed to change it every 12 hours from one leg to the other because the medication was so irritating to the tissue in my leg-the bruising was horrible and painful I remember. And this was one thing my husband could not do for me because he has a phobia of needles:) I remember even sending all the kids with my folks, over to my Grandma's without me and Matt stayed with me so I did not have to be alone on Christmas eve. It seemed like there was always this battle waging in my soul, every day decisions had to be made how to allow the kids as normal of a day, and yet somehow learn as a family how to cope with me being ill and certainly needing some interaction even when I was in bed.
But the following year felt like a liberation! I was completely healthy, we had this new little miracle in our lives that was worth every ounce of illness and struggle, and I lost a bit of sense when it came to the Christmas season. I think I was so set on making up for the year before, feeling I had been a disappointment, that I especially got lost in all plans on how to make that year wonderful! I remember being more disappointed that year after it was all over, than ever before. And that was where this season began to change for us. We finally began to "rest and reflect" so much more. My plans for Christmas, begin in January-so there is no more rush and missed reflection. I do love Christmas, the excitement, the cozy, the anticipation (hey-I still can't sleep the night before Christmas!) But I absolutely love how we stop and have the freedom to spend at least a whole month focused on the amazing sacrifice our God made by coming to earth as a baby! Seriously-it is breathtaking! And that is what we are getting better at as a family, attempting to walk through the season and depart form it feeling we did not squander the time on meaningless, unfulfilling things. Call me crazy, but I want to be satisfied when I begin my New Year! And things or perfect plans just aren't going to do it!
And that is why we actually begin early Nov in our decorating. We do want to enjoy the preparation but we do not want the preparation to take over as the purpose-does that make sense?
So with that, we began unpacking the Christmas decorations today, Christmas music and all:) I am having Thanksgiving here, and have enjoyed having the house decorated for that day which seems to compliment and begin the Christmas season so perfectly. What better way to begin Christmas than to start with a heart full of gratitude for the blessings from the Lord. We do a bit every day now. Today we decorated the smaller trees that we have in each room. Here are some of the pictures .
Cole and Madison worked on the tree for the kitchen as well as maybe working out those sibling squabbles too;)
Here is the kitchen tree finished. The kitchen just becomes all the better to bake in!
I was able to get the window lights up around the house while the kids worked on their trees.
Bell wanted to work on the tree by our front door. She hung the pretty "silver bells".
Madi pitched in to help her.
Joslyn got a bit anxious and forgot the lights-but the trees in the girl's room look lovely! We will just need to sneak the lights on later!
Cole helped Noah work on their tree. Berries and Bells for the boys.
And a red glow.....insisted on by Noah! He loves RED!
This tree was my project. it sits on a dresser in our dining nook of the living room. The bulbs are something I found for Christmas last year. They are beautifully hand painted with the 12 days of Christmas. Completely unique and amazing-I will have to get some close ups of them. They are my "treasure" because I found them in a big bag of messy broken ornaments at the thrift store for $.99. They were the only ornaments in the bag intact and spared from the dangers of the thrift store shelves-AND-all twelve were there! Even when I bought the bag(that you cannot open or they will not sell it to you) I figured that I would be able to get a few lovely ornaments out it, never did I expect to have the whole set in such beautiful condition! So, they have a tree of their own!
And Ellie, well she is just the icing on the cake, making winter seem all the cozier!
Matt came home from running some errands to find the house aglow with Christmas music on. he said, "Alright, winter will not be so bad. This is cozy." We all sat around the table tonight with a wonderful roast Matt had cooked today, and finished the night with hot cocoa and the beginning of our Christmas readings. It was a good day. I look forward to spending time dwelling on the amazing gift you have given to us, Jesus-yourself!