Merry Christmas (it’s late but meh!) and Happy New Year (it’s early but again – meh!)!! It’s been a whirlwind of life around these parts for weeks, much like I’m sure it’s been for you and we’re finally getting to a place of partial slow down.
Well, sort of.
We have exactly 5 more days until Bethany’s birthday, New Year’s in the middle and my house currently looks like something exploded. Which all together means I still have a substantial “To-Do” list but compared to the “To-Do” novel I was sporting pre-Christmas it feels quite manageable.
This year, as all that craziness swirled around me I found it really hard to find the Grace in anything, small or large. I couldn’t offer the joy my family deserved to see, to enjoy much of what was happening around me.
As I worked to do the things I normally love to do for others this time of year, the things that mean not only am I able to give something (time, baking, gifts…baking) to someone else, I’m able to teach our girls to do the same I felt my heart get a little sticky with grumpiness. It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing, or how I intended to react, I always ended up a little less than pleasant, sometimes even down right B…..well, you know.
Part of it was the fact that my list was so long (some of that was due to others but lets be real, the majority of it was self-induced), some was family stuff, a lot was health related and then there was just plain poor attitude.
I always tell our girls to “choose joy”, no matter what the situation, whatever may lay before you, we have a choice to see our glass as half-empty and be unhappy or find it half-full and find that joy**. Most of the time it’s something I try to model, it’s something that has carried me far through life and something I truly want them to discover.
This Christmas, I’m ashamed to admit that I did exactly the opposite. I let something beautiful, something incredible like the birth of our Lord & Saviour be tainted with my poor attitude.
And then Christmas Eve came. After a crazy day filled with more baking, wrapping & cleaning we arrived at my parent’s house for our family dinner. As I battled with a pair of pantyhose because Audrey begged me to wear a dress (side note: Whoever designs those incredibly expensive torture tubes is an angry, angry person. I lasted a whole 5 minutes before I ripped them off and proceeded to freeze bare legged), something happened that broke through it all. I took a moment to see all that I had, all that I had been given and I realized there truly is Grace in small things….
5. The sound of laughter: in particular, the sound of my brother’s laughter. As I handed him his gift, and cracked a joke about it, I heard him burst out & laugh in a way I haven’t heard in years. Moments later it was followed by that of my husband & my daughters. Laughter isn’t just medicine, it’s music, beautiful, joy filled music.
4. Christmas Eve Services: I love sitting in our church, seeing the candles flicker & listening to the little ones sing. It fills me up watching our girls devour it all & hearing a message that not only told of the birth of Jesus but the incredible gift of His death & resurrection. Those services make Christmas for me, and remind me that it’s about soooo much more than I was letting it be.
3. Little helpers: Amidst all the craziness that ensued, I managed to squeak time in the kitchen with my ladies to bake. We made treats & messes, packaged up gifts and tucked away memories. These little girls of mine are wonderful little creatures, and blessings I truly do not deserve.
2. Quiet: When all the chaos of the holiday celebrations subsided, and we finally convinced Bethany to “simmer down or else…” there was quiet. Little girls snuggling babies, big girls reading novels and sanity refreshing!
1. Family & Friends: from Christmas eve dinners to flash in the pan trips to the island. Text messages & Facebook conversations, there is no expressing how much joy & incredible grace I receive from the people in our lives we love!
**I realize there are horrible circumstance that are void of Grace. There are times that “choosing joy” is physically, emotionally & circumstantially impossible and I am NOT talking about those moments. None of what I’ve face this past month has reached those proportions, nor is what our girls face on a daily basis. The things that are daily life issues do have silver linings, when we look for them, we’ll find them!