Another one in the books. Hard to believe.
Each year, I anticipate Christmas in several different ways. There's the financial planning and fretful way as I wonder how on earth we will get it all figured out. This year was perhaps a little more stressful on that front. We had the job change which left us a little short as the car lot Scott worked for skated us out of a nice hunk of his paycheck. This is just a part of the car business, by the way, so be extra nice and patient the next time you make that purchase... you have no idea what these guys go through just to get the money they have earned. Though we're tickled pink with the career change, we've had to get used to a totally different pay schedule, and we we not-so-pleasantly surprised when we learned that our final check of the year would come on the final Friday of the year, leaving us a little strapped in between. Amazing how it has all worked out, though. It always does. Thank you, Lord.
I normally anticipate Christmas Eve with my mom's family at my grandmother's home. But this year, them being in the nursing home and the house having been sold months ago, it wasn't to be as usual. This left my heart a little sad, but it also left room for a new tradition to be born. Me, Scott and the kids went to the Christmas Eve service and were so blessed because of it. A young man played the most moving rendition of Drummer Boy I have ever (and possibly will ever) hear. And I saw the Christmas story in a totally different light. The faith it took. God's calling on certain people like the wise men and the shepherds to be a witness for Him. Can you imagine the faith it took to journey to see a baby? A baby. Unbelievable, isn't it? Makes me think about what lengths I will go to experience my Savior. If I had been sitting on my grandmother's wood floor, I would have missed that lesson. I would have missed watching a man play his heart out for the Lord. Learning to live in the now is tough sometimes, but it is definitely worth it when we choose to think that way.
I am grateful for the thinner Christmas we had this year. Seems like no one on either side of our family had an abundance of money this year, so the gift load was much lighter. We are not bringing in a whole lot of new stuff to the household. Yet the kids had such a great time. What they did get, they really loved. One of David's gifts under the tree from Mama and Daddy was the Action Bible. When he picked up the package to shake and test it once it was wrapped, he immediately said, "It's a book... why did you buy me a book? I bet it's a Bible..." But once he opened it and realized what kind of Bible it was, he was thrilled. I look forward to sitting down with him and reading some of it. I want more than anything for all the people closest to me to love the Word of God even half as much as I do. Madalyn's favorite gift was a bag of school supplies all from the Dollar Tree. I mean, how much simpler can you get? But the hours of joy she will get playing school with $12 worth of stuff is priceless. It's not how much you spend; it's knowing that what you've spent will be far less than the happiness the gift brings.
Perhaps the best gift of all this year was another Christmas with my mom. Back in the summer, when she was doing so poorly and declining quickly, I didn't think we would see the holiday season with her in it. I am so grateful. Beyond words. I saw so many Facebook posts about spending a first Christmas without a loved one, and my heart just ached. I don't know why, nor do I need to understand it, but the Lord saw fit for us to have her with us longer. And I will take every day with her that I can get. Her handwriting on a gift tag... her paper plates atop chargers on the dining room table... her tree with all her ornaments... they were just icing on the cake. Her being here was the most amazing earthly gift this year.
Another one in the books. Hard to believe. Even harder still to believe that at 35, I am still learning what this season is all about. Still taking it all in. Still learning so much about life and trying to appreciate all the little moments all year round.