Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Often we find our attitude not where it should be this time of year.  This year, right before Thanksgiving my car decided to have some major problems.  Three weeks later and quite a bit of money later and it was fixed, or so we thought.  Those costly repairs cut into our budget which is already tight.  So a week after Thanksgiving I've been able to drive my car to school, happy to have it running again.  My husband takes the car to the store and when he returns he says, "Well I guess I'll be driving you to school until you have your break,  Your steel belts are poking through on your tires."  I went into the house and thought, "Really Lord?  We just spent two paychecks on the car and then this,  and now I have nothing for Christmas." My mother asked when I was setting up the tree and I told her I didn't know if I was going to put one up.  There was nothing to go under it.  My husband heard me and reminded me that we had experienced tighter Christmases.

Our first Christmas together he brought home a small live tree.  It fit on our coffee table. The kids were so excited.  The year before my children and I  had borrowed a tree from my sister's storage unit  and we had made paper and wooden ornaments and colored them with markers.  I was a newly divorced mother of two. My kids reminded me that we had those ornaments to place on the tree.  By the third day the tree had almost no needles left on it.  My son remarked that it was beautiful just like the one on Charlie Brown.  He then reminded me of the reason we celebrated Christmas.

On this occasion my husband  was my reminder.  So, two days later I called my daughter and asked if her daughter could spend Friday night with us.  School was out for Christmas break and she could help me set up our tree.  It was a wonderful time as my granddaughter Haylee talked about each ornament.  Some of them were ornaments we had given to our children, some were the ones we had made.  She proclaimed the tree was beautiful.  We waited until her mother picked her up  to put the candy canes on the tree.  Both my daughter Angie and my grand-daughter Haylee have this honor each year.  My daughter was looking at the ornaments and picked up a bell shaped piece of construction paper with her kindergarten picture on it.  Her eyes misted over and she said, "Now I have one of these on my tree with my daughter on it."  I realized that the tree was a symbol of memories.  If I never have anything to put UNDER the tree I have memories covering it.  I have several ornaments that were my father's.   He has been gone since 1999.  It has always been a tradition to give an ornament to everyone.  When the kids got their own place they had a baggie of ornaments to start off their decorating.  I have not made any for them or my grand kids yet.  I do know what I will be making though.
I look forward to this years traditions.  We open gifts on Christmas Eve so that the kids can visit in-laws and other relatives on Christmas day.  We always have dinner and then read the story from Luke before we ever open presents.  Christmas day is a day we celebrate Christ's birthday.  When the kids were little we had a birthday cake for him.
I may only have a couple of gifts under the tree this year but the family that sits around it is what is most important.  Besides, we have the greatest gift of all.  We have the gift of God's son.  What more could I ask for?

I hope that as you prepare for this busy time of year you find the peace, love and memories to carry you through.  May you find a reason to celebrate in the face of hard times.

God Bless You All!

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