Goodbye, Christmas.

I am sad, truly sad. I hate when Christmas is over. I adore the feeling of love, hope, and celebration. It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Alas, all good things must come to an end and with that here’s a quick glimpse of how we spent our Christmas.

I expected Davey to be difficult. He is, of course, at that age where he wants to open EVERY present, but thankfully he asked everyone’s permission to help them. In most cases, his “help” was really just him devouring the paper all by his lonesome. This year; however, was truly different and my oldest made me beam with pride. For every gift he received, BEFORE he opened them, he thanked every one with huge hugs for getting him a gift! How crazy is that? He didn’t even know what was in the gift, but yet he was so ecstatic to receive one he immediately had to thank the recipient. And what’s better than that? When he opened a box full of clothes, he didn’t once complain about the clothes not being a toy. He gave even bigger hugs! What’s wrong with my child?

Decorating trees
Decorating trees

Henry wasn’t interested in any gift. Surprise, surprise! He wasn’t even interested in tearing apart the wrapping. This worked well with Davey as it gave him more gifts to open. I guess what surprised me the most; however, was Davey sheer excitement over one particular gift…SOCKS! Yes, I just typed that word. My three year old was excited over socks, but here’s the kicker, they were not just ordinary socks. These socks had Lightning McQueen on them. You can never go wrong with anything Cars or Planes. Those Disney movies, and their spinoffs, are winners in my household.

Decorating Trees
Decorating Trees

The funniest and almost most mortifying (at least for me) part of Christmas Eve was the moment I opened a gift with Davey’s help. Inside the gift were two new bras to which my son exclaimed, “Mama, look, these hold your nipples. Aren’t you excited?” Yes, my three year old blurted out those words. If I hadn’t been surrounded by family I would have been mortified.

Decorating cookies
Decorating cookies

All in all, Christmas did not disappoint. We continued with old traditions, started new ones, and celebrated our lives and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This year, Davey new more about the Christmas story and could practically repeat it himself. He was eager to tell everyone the true meaning of Christmas and that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We baked cookies together, decorated trees, and gave each other love.

Helping in the kitchen.
Helping in the kitchen.

And all though this mama slacked with her Elf on the Shelf responsibilities, all of your posts and pictures have encouraged me for next year.

putting out reindeer food.
putting out reindeer food.

Now it’s onto the tedious and saddening task of undecorating my trees and placing them into hibernation until next year.

So, from my family to yours, we hope you’ve had a very Merry Christmas. I pray that you’ve all remember the true meaning, and you celebrated it. For the New Year, I hope it is a blessed one and that if you’ve never experienced our Lord’s magic and gifts that you find a way to Him.

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So This is Christmas

I awoke this morning to the news of so many children losing their lives at the hands of armed gunman. It’s not an unusual story to hear about on the news. Two years ago, a deranged young man took the life of his mother along with numerous elementary aged children in Newtown, CT before eventually ending his own life. Hearing these stories at a time when we, as Christians, celebrate the birth of the greatest child to be born, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is extremely heart breaking.

We are exactly nine days away from celebrating the birthday of Jesus, a child born unto this world who would ultimately die for our sins. This is a time of love, happiness, and joy, but yet it’s hard to maintain that level of enthusiasm when we’re inundated with so much evil and hatred.

As I continued to listen to the news reports throughout the morning of the children who died at the hands of Taliban terrorists, I evolved from a state of anger to a state of sadness. As a mother, my perspective on life and society is much different than what it once was. I find that I put myself into the shoes of other parents, that I find a way to empathize with them, and I pray. I pray that the Lord guides these parents. I pray that He helps them to heal and forgive. I pray that they never feel His absence.

And then, when I can no longer stay in the shoes of other parents, I look at my children and think back to my childhood.

Christmas was always a magical time. The days seemed infinite. The minutes ticked by slowly on Christmas Eve as we sat alongside the fireplace and watched television, listened to music, and told stories. I always worried we wouldn’t make it home in time for bed and that Santa would bypass our house. After all, he did have a lot of packages to deliver and he needed to get a head start.

When I was the age of many of these children killed in Pakistan today, the worst thing I’d ever seen happen was the Challenger explosion. It made me cry because it had been such a huge thing to have an average American, a teacher, going up in space. It was mechanical failure, not failure of society or the human heart like the majority of the tragedies are these days.

When I was the age of many of these children, I didn’t worry about my education. I didn’t worry about my safety at school, or that someone would try to deny me of it. I didn’t fear that at any point my city or town would be bombed. I was a child, living a carefree life. I was a child doing exactly what a child should be doing…not fretting about the insensitivities and violence knocking on my door.

When the shooting of Newtown happened, Davey was just over a year old. I cried for the longest time as I watched parents with children who would never open presents on Christmas morning. I sobbed uncontrollably at the thought that these parents would wake up the next morning and not see the smiles of their children, their laughs, and inquisitive natures. I thanked the Lord right then for my blessings and I hugged Davey harder.

This morning, I found myself doing the same thing once again with both Davey and Henry. What a gift these boys are to me. How wonderfully blessed I am to have them in my life. I can’t imagine waking up one day to the realization that their little lives were snuffed out at the hands of selfish, inhumane monsters. I can’t imagine how or why anyone would want to hurt children, the most innocent and pure of society. A child shouldn’t have to carry the burdens of this world. Jesus Christ did that for us. He suffered for our sins and yet we are still a horribly sinful world when things like the murders of innocent children is occurring.

On days like today, I find myself playing John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” in my head. How many of you have actually listened to the words? I’m not a huge fan of John Lennon, but what a wonderful song he wrote. He asks, “So this is Christmas. What have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun”. What have we done, as God’s children, this year? And then the tears start to fall when I hear him sing, “Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear.”

As a Christian, I implore all of you to please think beyond yourselves. Think about, “the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, for the road is so long.”

Don’t take a day for granted, don’t miss a moment. Hug your children, love them, and set an example for them. Think about those children who won’t get a Christmas this year, or for those who won’t breathe life again. Think about your childhood, be it good or bad, and want more for those who’ve come after you. Let the true spirit of the season overwhelm you and fill your heart with more love than you ever thought imaginable.