Homemade cider simmering on the stove top, Bing and Rosemary echoing off the high ceilings of our old Kentucky home, gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, the fire crackling with the gentle hum of the fan filling rooms with warmth, the glowing Christmas tree complete with greatly anticipated Christmas promises residing underneath – all these things usually prelude the wonderful celebration of Christmas in our home. I do my best to keep up with Shaylea’s holiday cheer, which usually starts somewhere around the end of summer. Although that can be a bit…taxing, we do both love getting wrapped up in the magic of Christmas.
Really, Shaylea reminds me of myself when I was her age. Since I was a girl I’ve taken great joy in all things Christmas. My mom often counted on me (or allowed me 😉 to do much of the decorating. I can remember vividly the excitement I felt when I was privileged, for the very first time, with setting out the white porcelain nativity on the mantel above the wood burning stove. I took great pains in placing each character appropriately so that Jesus was in the very center and the angel was hovering over Him.
Then, it was a “standing on tippy-toes” kind of excitement. Now, visualizing the scene, my soul can’t help but whisper, “Glory to God on the Highest, Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men.”
We’ve been consumed with the birth and care of Haddie Joy this Christmas season, and it has been difficult to create the atmosphere that usually excites me. I’ve traded baking for Dr.’s appointments and gift making for naps! Frankly, I’ve been doing good to engage with other family members and get myself and Haddie Joy fed and watered. 🙂
A week ago that saddened me. I felt like I would “miss” Christmas. Miss Shaylea’s programs, seeing the “bell ringers” in front of stores, making, baking and decorating, driving around looking at lights, and my favorite – the Christmas Eve candle-lit service at church.
I love it.
All of it.
I didn’t want to “miss” anything.
Monday, on Shaylea’s 10th birthday, I was thinking back to a very special Christmas. Shaylea had just been born. She was five days old. I can remember being pregnant during all of the Christmas festivities and feeling so incredibly blessed. I remember thinking about Christmas in a whole new light. Added to all of my favorite Christmas pastimes was this new miracle growing inside of me, soon to arrive. My mind often daydreamed about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and what she must have felt on that first Christmas. I sought after what the scriptures said of her.
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
It was such a special time for me, as I made new traditions which had nothing to do with anyone or anything – only the sweet mediation of a personal communion with our Savior.
This morning, I was going on about my business rushing around, trying to get a shower and breakfast in the wee hours of the morning so I could sneak a nap before Haddie Joy would wake again. I really had given no conscious thought to our great God. Not one time.
But He thought of me.
Like a clanging symbol His words clashed boldly together and His truth resonated firmly in my mind. In the moment of remembering these words, every emotion I have submitted to this explosive, yet gentle truth. What a joy.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
That is Christmas. If I miss it, it is by my choosing.
How blessed am I to know our God? Ten years ago He gave me an extra special Christmas with the birth of Shaylea Faith. This year He has allowed me to experience being a mom to sweet Hadassah Joy just a week before Thanksgiving.
Forgive me Lord for forgetting. Thank you God for your gentle but bold reminder.
We may miss out on things and people this Christmas.
But I’m not missing Christmas.
I have so much to treasure and ponder in my heart.
I have the gift of the Christ and what that has meant to my life.
And with you I glorify and praise God for all that He has done this Christmas season. And I thank you for sharing this journey with me and for praying and loving us so much.
Merry Christmas to you all and may God richly bless you this Christmas, no matter where you are!
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.